Friday, 30 June 2017
Over 100 building tested after Grenfell Tower has failed cladding safety check
Every single high-rise building tested – 120 in total – since the Grenfell Tower disaster has failed a fire safety check on its cladding, Theresa May has confirmed. The prime minister told the House of Commons that 120 buildings in 37 different local authorities across the UK have now been tested, with a 100% failure rate, as the government struggles to deal with the aftermath of this month's devastating fire at the building in west London.
May said she understood that the material that was failing the tests was not compliant with building regulations. As a result of the 100% failure rate, she said local authorities "should not wait for test results" and should instead "get on with the job of fire safety tests" on all at-risk buildings. However, she warned against blaming anyone in particular while a criminal investigation was ongoing. May told MPs that 65 offers of accommodation have now been made to families displaced by the fire, with £1.25 million paid to families and a further £1 million made available to charities who are able to assist. She also said she hoped to shortly announce a judge to lead an inquiry into the disaster.
According to the BBC, while there is a government document spelling out a standard for cladding in high rises, there is no single regulator overseeing that these standards are met, and the sector bodies responsible for maintaining standards have advised contractors not to take the regulations literally.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said 40% cuts to local authority budgets and "disastrous" austerity measures had reduced the ability of councils to enforce building regulations.
"Fewer inspectors, fewer building control inspectors, fewer planning inspectors. We all pay a price," he said, attacking the government's "disregard for working-class communities" and warning of the "terrible consequences of deregulation and cutting corners".
"This disaster must be a wake-up call," he warned.