Grenfell Tower - Photo: Wikipedia
26 Mar 2018

The Paper Trail: The Failure of Building Regulations


Grenfell Tower. Photo: Wikipedia
 Grenfel Tower. Photo: Wikipedia

Video: (Above)  A special 47 minute documentary on the Grenfell Tower fire in London from Sky News.

Just over nine months on from the fire which destroyed Grenfell Tower, the UK remains in crisis.

The dangerous cladding has been found on almost 300 social housing tower blocks and an unknown number of private blocks, hotels, hospitals and schools up and down the country.

These are the words by Pete Apps, Sophie Barnes and Luke Barratt who have recently written a discourse paper;  "The Paper Trail: The Failure of Building Regulations" on ShorthandSocial.com  around the catastrophic event which bares a scary resemblance to the recent mall fire in Russia.

Grenfell Tower bares a scary resemblance to the recent mall fire in Russia; just like the shopping center fire in Southern Siberia, the rapid fire spread in Grenfell Tower on June 14, 2017  was attributed to the use of flammable insulation materials in the construction. (CTIF Editors Note)

And behind the scenes, an almighty row is underway over who is to blame. 

Four days after the fire, chancellor Philip Hammond took to prime-time BBC to insist the cladding used on Grenfell was “banned”. Since then, government officials have repeatedly said the material does not comply with building regulations and never did.  

Contractors, insurance companies and builders claim its use was permitted. Both sides continue to argue the other should pick up the bill. 

While this messy stalemate continues, the people who live in some of England’s high rises continue to sleep every night knowing a highly flammable plastic is attached to their walls.

The debate about whether or not the cladding on Grenfell was legal is critical and far from settled. 

Alongside this battle, the official review of building regulations commissioned by government is accused of signalling it will not go far enough to make the changes necessary to ensure buildings are kept safe.    

Ahead of the release of its full report, expected in May, Inside Housing has spent months gathering together documents and interviewing experts from across the built environment sector to try and explain this debate.

This story is split into three sections.

First, an examination of the guidance which appeared to permit the dangerous cladding used on Grenfell. 

Second, an in-depth look at how regulations were slowly weakened to permit untested combinations of flammable material to be installed on the outside of many of the country's high rises.    

And finally, the story of how an obsession with deregulation meant the warning signs of looming disaster were missed.  

We begin with three paragraphs amid the 172-pages of official government guidance at the heart of much of the debate: Approved Document B


Read more about this discourse on ShorthandSocial.com