The Government has been urged to tighten building control and fire safety regulations immediately. Experts say more people will die if no action is taken until after the Grenfell Tower Fire inquiry has concluded. Campaigners are calling for sprinklers to be compulsory in all high-rise and high-risk buildings. Calls for urgent action follow revelations about the extent of safety failings at Grenfell, where 71 people lost their lives.

In an open letter to the Government, fire safety specialists say the time to act is now. They are concerned about the risks faced by those in buildings with poor fire safety equipment. Among their concerns is the use of combustible cladding and insulation fitted to the exterior of tower blocks. They want these materials banned.

 

Grenfell letter prompted by interim report

 

Dame Judith Hackitt is the former head of the UK Health and Safety Executive. She is leading an independent review into the effectiveness of current building and fire safety regulations. However, her findings have yet to be published.

The letter was prompted by her interim report, which reveals a catalogue of safety failings at Grenfell following refurbishments between 2014 and 2016. Those failings include:

The use of highly combustible exterior cladding

  • Badly fitted windows
  • Front doors with no door closers
  • No sprinklers
  • Narrow escape routes
  • Poor access for emergency services.

Architect George Clarke and Ronnie King OBE, of the all-party parliamentary Fire Safety and Rescue Group, along with the Mineral Wool Manufacturers Association (MIMA), were among those to sign the open letter.

 

10 months on – what’s changed?

 

Ten months after the tragedy, campaigners say they are “deeply concerned” that so little has been done to prevent a similar disaster. The letter read: “The official inquiries and investigations will run their course, but we must not wait. We believe these common-sense measures will help protect people’s lives and the buildings in which they live, work, learn and recover.”

The campaigners say “high risk” buildings should include schools, hospitals, care homes, sheltered housing and residential blocks.

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