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Grenfell two years on: planned regs changes 'not enough'

13 June 2019 | By Neil Gerrard

The government’s proposed changes to Building Regulations in response to Dame Judith Hackitt’s independent review don’t go far enough.

That’s the warning from the Fire Protection Association (FPA), issued two years on from the Grenfell Tower disaster, which took place on 14 June 2017.

The FPA said it wanted to see a series of measures introduced in order to prevent another tragedy.

It called for the ban on combustible cladding to be extended to all high-risk buildings, regardless of height, rather than those over 18m.

It also recommended a ban on single staircases in buildings in excess of 18m — instead offering both an entrance and exit staircase — as well as the mandatory installation of multi-sensor detection for all high-risk occupancies (a fire detector that monitors dangers including smoke, heat and carbon monoxide).

Meanwhile, while it welcomed the government’s acknowledgement of the value of independently verified products, the FPA called for assurance to be mandated and extended to the installers of products and risk assessors.

Jonathan O’Neill, managing director, FPA said: “The Fire Protection Association supports a total ban on combustible building materials, to all high-risk buildings, such as schools, hospitals, nursing homes, blocks of flats – not just those buildings over 18 metres. We also want a ban on single staircases in all tall buildings, because in the event of a fire you need at least one staircase for people to be able to evacuate the building, and a second staircase for the fire and rescue services for entry.

"Our support of third-party certification, to provide independent verification of building regulations services, as well as the mandatory installation of multi sensor detectors (that can detect several sources, such as heat, smoke and carbon monoxide) is also a key consideration. There is clearly much that still needs to be done, so we are keen to see change now - and will help in any way we can to ensure that we never again experience a tragedy on the scale we witnessed at Grenfell.”

Comments

This sounds like very sensible advice in relation to life safety and would make things easier for those of us working in Building Control and those who are tasked in designing buildings .
Why don't they add sprinklers aswell which are proven life savers and would also assist firefighters in the event of fire so that another Grenfell could never occur!

Jason Wynne, 13 June 2019

Following a lifetimes work in Building Control, I would very much support and applaud the recommendations of the FPA. Anything less would be unacceptable when considering the minimum standard of health and safety for people in (sleeping risk) and around buildings. Fire safety should be paramount and top of the agenda in any Building Regulation assessment.

Joe Quigley. FCIOB. MRICS., 13 June 2019

The RIBA Expert Advisory Fire Group are on similar lines as the FPA.
Single staircases, long dead end and extra long 2 way corridors and no fire fighting refuge lobbies are major deficiencies in most HRRB's. Together with quality of build and management failings the current regulatory system is unfit for purpose for these building types.
We need to collaborate more fully as an industry and engage with the MHCLG.

Paul Bussey, 13 June 2019

Good articles and yes the regulation changes are not enough..

Sheila, 13 June 2019

Totally agree with FPA & previous commenter on sprinklers.
To pick up on the point about 3rd party assessment of products and installers, I also totally agree that this should be mandatory.
Contractors do seem to have taken on board the products side of that, but very often the installers are not assessed, have very little or no formal training on the products they are installing and quite frankly, are getting it wrong.
It should be mandatory that only registered installers are used, who have been independently assessed as competent.
Otherwise, what use is an assessed, tested product that conforms to British & European standards, if it’s not installed on site, as it was in the test.

Nigel Dyer MICWCI FSIDip, 14 June 2019

Low rise well designed with defensible
space on brown sites and cap the expansion of city developments. Why do we still have the 1960's attitude in housing
people living in our towns and cities. Get rid of all tower blocks should be the aim
of modern planning.

Botwright MCIAT (retired), 14 June 2019

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