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Fri June 18 2021

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Fire safety experts call for widening of Grenfell reforms

13 Jun 19 On the eve of the second anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire in London, the Fire Protection Association has renewed its call to government to go much further in its proposed changes to building regulations.

The deaths of 72 people were attributed to the Grenfell Tower fire
The deaths of 72 people were attributed to the Grenfell Tower fire

The Fire Protection Association (FPA), the UK’s national fire safety organisation, says that the ban on combustible cladding should be extended to all high-risk buildings regardless of height – not just buildings over 18 metres high.

The FPA also says that third party certification should be mandated and extend to the installers of products and the risk assessors.

It says that all tower blocks higher than 18 metres should have more than one staircase, to offer both an entrance and exit staircase.

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It also calls for mandatory installation of multi-sensor detection for all high-risk occupancies – a fire detector that monitors a number of potential dangers, including smoke, heat and carbon-monoxide.

It was on 14th June 2017 that fire spread through Grenfell Tower in west London after a resident’s fridge-freezer ignited. The flames spread far quicker than expected, due substantially to the cladding system installed in a cut-price refurbishment completed just a year before. Dozens of residents, obeying instruction to stay put, were killed.

FPA managing director Jonathan O’Neill said: “The Fire Protection Association supports a total ban on combustible building materials, to all high-risk buildings, such as schools, hospitals, nursing homes, blocks of flats – not just those buildings over 18 metres. We also want a ban on single staircases in all tall buildings, because in the event of a fire you need at least one staircase for people to be able to evacuate the building, and a second staircase for the fire and rescue services for entry. Our support of third-party certification, to provide independent verification of building regulations services, as well as the mandatory installation of multi sensor detectors (that can detect several sources, such as heat, smoke and carbon monoxide) is also a key consideration. There is clearly much that still needs to be done, so we are keen to see change now – and will help in any way we can to ensure that we never again experience a tragedy on the scale we witnessed at Grenfell.”

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