Grenfell Tower tragedy dents confidence in councils, poll suggests


A new poll has revealed doubts over plans to give local authorities more power to oversee the safety of high-rise buildings, following the Grenfell Tower fire

A ComRes survey, for the body representing the UK’s independent building inspectors, of 2,000 people found that almost half (46%) of British adults say they are less confident in Local Authorities to oversee the safety of high-rise residential buildings, as a result of the Grenfell Tower fire. Just over a third (36%) said their opinion has not changed, whilst fewer than one in ten (8%) say they are more confident.

The survey comes ahead of the Government’s upcoming response to the Hackitt Review which recommended giving sole oversight of the safety of high-rise buildings to local authorities.

The Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety was announced by the Government in July 2017 following the Grenfell Tower tragedy in which 72 people died when a huge fire engulfed the west London residential tower block.

The Hackitt review was set up to make recommendations to ensure a sufficiently robust regulatory system was put in place and to give residents confidence that the buildings they live in are safe.

The review examined building and fire safety regulations and related compliance and enforcement with the focus on multi-occupancy high-rise residential buildings.

The review has attracted much response, with some criticising its failure to recommend banning combustible cladding and mandate the use of sprinklers. The Government has, however, announced a ban on cladding on all new buildings over 18 metres.

Some building experts have also criticised the reviews proposal to give local authorities “sole oversight” of high-risk residential buildings like Grenfell Tower. Independent private inspectors would be prevented from working on them.

The Chairman of the Body which represents independent private building inspectors, the ACAI, Paul Wilkins said: “The industry needs proper independent regulation if it is to prevent another tragedy like the Grenfell Tower fire.

“The current proposals risk undermining this by concentrating power in the hands of local authorities.

“The only way to restore public trust is to create a system with proper independent oversight of local authorities and independent inspectors with both being held to the same standards”

“The Government must now listen to these concerns to implement a system that works, is open and transparent.”


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