Friday, 17 August, 2018

Theresa May's £400m to rid fire-risk tower blocks of cladding

Dame Judith Hackitt who chairs the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety Dame Judith Hackitt who chairs the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety
Ellis Copeland | 17 May, 2018, 18:37

Inside Housing reported she will propose the introduction of a new "regulatory system" for tower blocks, including creating a "duty holder" that will be given the power to enter people's flats to check fire safety issues.

A report into building regulations following the Grenfell Tower fire's stopped short of calling for an outright ban on flammable building cladding.

Some 71 people died in the blaze on June 14 past year.

In a government-commissioned report, led by Dame Judith Hackitt, the review has been looking into regulations around design, construction and management of buildings in relation to fire safety.

"It is clear from Grenfell and from the other tests that have been done that despite the guidance now saying that, people were putting other materials up, so I don't think a ban will work".

He added: "Having listened carefully to concerns, the Government will consult on banning the use of combustible materials in cladding systems on high-rise residential buildings".

Seventy-one people died in the fire in Grenfell Tower last June and following the fire, cladding on hundreds of buildings failed safety tests.

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THE government will pay for the removal and replacement of unsafe cladding materials from tower blocks, Theresa May pledged yesterday.

The state's housing and public works minister, Mick de Brenni, has told the ABC that while it would cost millions to complete rectifications, the government could not put a price on safety.

The report says a new Joint Competent Authority (JCA) made up of Local Authority Building Standards, fire and rescue authorities and the Health and Safety Executive will oversee better management of safety risks in these buildings (through safety cases) across their entire life cycle.

This is particularly important for Wandsworth, as we have two tower blocks - Sudbury House and Castlemaine - where essential cladding removal works are already well under way.

"This illustrates the siloed thinking that is part of the problem we must address". "It needs a whole-system change".

"People are not safe in their homes", Shahin Sadafy, chair of survivors' group Grenfell United told the BBC.

Shadow housing secretary John Healey said it "beggars belief" that the report "continues to give a green light" to combustible materials on high-rise blocks. "When we met Dame Judith, we looked her in the eye and we asked her - among other things - to ban unsafe cladding".

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