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The ARCH annual report for 2015-16 is now available to view.

 

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Grenfell Public Inquiry Phase 1 Report published 31/10/2019 Labelled as Scrutiny, Tenants

The Grenfell Public Inquiry has published its Phase 1 report into the events of the 14 June 2017 fire at Grenfell Tower in which 72 people lost their lives.

 

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry is an independent public inquiry led by Chair Sir Martin Moore-Bick, set up to examine the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the fatal fire at Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017. The Inquiry is considering matters in two phases.

 

This Phase 1 report includes a detailed description of the events of the night of 14 June 2017 as well as Sir Martin's findings about the nature of the building, origins of the fire, its subsequent development, response of the London Fire Brigade and steps taken by other emergency services.

 

Phase 2 hearings will begin on 27 January 2020 and will examine in detail the refurbishment work and cladding products used on the building, compliance with relevant legislation as well as the complaints from and communication with residents and the management of the building by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea as well as its Tenant Management Organisation.

 

The Phase 1 report is almost 1,000 pages long and organised into four volumes, containing a series of recommendations set out in Chapter 33 of the report, grouped under 17 headings.

 

The full report and recommendations can be downloaded from the Grenfell Inquiry website

 

Many of the recommendations in the Phase 1 report relate to the fire service but also included are a number of significant recommendations for owners of high-rise buildings.

 

Key among the recommendations for owners and managers of high-rise buildings are:

 

  • The development of national guidelines for carrying out partial or total evacuations of high-rise buildings - including protecting fire access routes and procedures for evacuating people who require assistance.
  • Owners and managers of high-rise buildings should be required to draw up and keep under review evacuation plans, with copies provided to local fire and rescue services and placed in an information box on the premises.
  • All high-rise buildings should be equipped with facilities to enable the sending of an evacuation signal to the whole or a selected part of the building.
  • Owners and managers of high-rise buildings should be required to draw up personal evacuation plans for residents who may struggle to self-evacuate with information about them stored in the premise's information box.
  • Fire services should be equipped with smoke hoods to help evacuate residents down smoke-filled stairs.
  • An urgent inspection of fire doors in all buildings containing separate dwellings, whether or not they are high-rise buildings and a legal requirement on the owner or manager of these buildings to inspect fire doors at least every three months to ensure self-closing devices are working effectively.
  • All high-rise buildings should have floor numbers clearly marked in a prominent place, which would be visible in low light or smoky conditions in a means that all residents can understand.
  • Owners and managers of high-rise building should be required by law to carry out regular inspections of any lift required for use by firefighters and the mechanism that allows them to take control of lifts.
  • Owners and managers of high-rise building should be required to provide details of external walls and materials used to the local fire service, and inform them of any changes to ensure that fire services personnel at all levels understand the risk of cladding fires.
  • The Inquiry Chair decided not to issue a recommendation that individual flats be provided with fire extinguishers or fire blankets; and
  • At this stage, although noting the recommendation from the coroner investigating the Lakanal House fire that the use of sprinklers be encouraged, the Report makes no recommendations at this stage on the retro-fitting of sprinklers but the Inquiry Chair said he would consider the matter in phase two of the Inquiry.

 

 

Copies of the report were laid before Parliament and the findings of the Phase 1 report were discussed on 30 October in a debate led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson who promised that a further debate would be scheduled at the earliest opportunity after the forthcoming General Election.

 

In the Prime Minister's statement to Parliament on the Grenfell Phase 1 Report, the Prime Minister confirmed that the Government intends to accept in principle all of the recommendations that the Inquiry makes of central government and where Sir Martin recommends responsibility for fire safety be taken on by central Government, the Government will legislate accordingly.

 

In responding to the debate in Parliament, Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said that the Government will be taking forward a social housing White Paper as "an important step in providing security and dignity to individuals who feel that they have not been listened to and that their views are not respected."  

 

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