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A journalist with 13 years of experience on trade publications covering construction, local government, property, pubs, and transport.
June 28, 2017

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Grenfell

Prime minister urges councils to ‘get on’ with fire safety checks

Cladding from 120 tower blocks across 37 local authority areas has failed fire safety tests, the prime minister, Theresa May, has announced.

She told parliament that the failure rate was still 100% of all panels tested since the Grenfell Tower fire a fortnight ago.

May also told local authorities to ‘get on with fire safety checks’ on towers which have cladding similar to Grenfell.

She also said a judge for the public inquiry into the disaster would be named ‘soon’.

Fewer inspectors

Speaking in the Commons, opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn claimed the disaster had ‘exposed the disastrous effect of austerity’.

He said: “(There are) fewer building control inspectors, fewer planning inspectors – we all pay a price.”

The news came as NHS Improvement, which oversees foundation trusts and NHS Trusts, said it had sent a letter calling for them to carry out fire safety checks.

It stated tests on cladding would be completed by next week.

Letter

Reports have also shown that the London Fire Brigade had issued a warning to all 33 London councils about exterior cladding in May this year.

The letter from assistant commissioner of Fire Safety Regulation, Dan Daly, was sent to councils after a fire at a block of flats in Shepherd’s Bush, and highlighted the risks of external cladding in fire spread.

“In the light of fires that have occurred, I would urge you to consider carefully your arrangements for specifying, monitoring and approving all aspects of future replacement and improvement to building facades and construction of new buildings for which you are responsible. Contracts for the provision and installation of replacement elements…must ensure compliance with all parts of Part B if they are to secure public safety and minimise fire losses.”

It ‘strongly urged’ local authorities to ‘consider this issue as part of the risk assessment process for premises under your control’.

Daly said: “I suggest that you make sure all relevant information about replacement window and façade systems is fully available to fire risk assessors.”

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