Public poll backs tougher fire safety regulations
The vast majority (90%) of people want all new high-rise buildings clad in non-combustible materials only, according to a new survey.
The survey, commissioned by insulation manufacturers Rockwool also found that just 32% of people are satisfied with the Government’s response to improving fire safety in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
The survey of more than 2,004 members of the British public also found 71% believe that desktop studies should be banned.
This finding follows the launch of a consultation earlier this month by the Government to explore the possibility of “significantly restricting or banning” desktop studies as a means of assessing fire safety.
And more than half of those surveyed (53%) of believe the Government should take ultimate responsibility for ensuring all high-rise buildings comply with building regulations.
The survey also found significant support for all existing (86%) and new (88%) high-rise and high-risk buildings such as schools, hospitals and towers be required by law to be fitted with sprinkler systems.
And 91% of respondents agreed that all newly built high-rise and high-risk buildings, such as schools, hospitals and tower blocks, should have multiple escape routes.
The executive director of the European Fire Sprinkler Network, Alan Brinson, said: “Sprinklers are highly effective fire safety systems. They are not expensive and have been fitted in many existing buildings.
“The public recognises this and supports their wider use. Wales already requires sprinklers in all new housing and in Scotland there is a proposal to require them in more buildings. All eyes are now on England”
The survey also comes less than two months before the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire, and ahead of Dame Judith Hackitt’s independent review of building regulations and fire safety, which is expected to be published next month.
“It is very encouraging, though not surprising, to see such widespread public support for the use of non-combustible materials on high-risk and high-rise buildings,” said Rockwool UK’s managing director, Darryl Matthews.
“Requiring the use of non-combustible cladding and insulation materials on new buildings would help protect public safety and remove the need altogether for desktop studies, which allow manufactures to commission unregulated, unpublished reports assessing their materials’ theoretical safety for high-rise buildings.
“As we approach the publication of Dame Judith Hackitt’s final report, the Government should take note of the public’s strong views on these issues and act accordingly to improve fire safety across this country,” added Mr Matthews.
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