More Grenfell-style fire disasters in Britain?


This video says about itself:

JUSTICE FOR GRENFELL – DOCUMENTARY

5 October 2017

In the wake of the greatest fire to hit the UK in 100 years, Ahlulbayt TV meets with victims of the fire, psychologists treating survivors as well as members of the Grenfell Action Group who were warning that such a disaster was only a matter of time.

By FELICITY COLLIER in Britain:

London Fire Brigade warns of future Grenfells if we don’t get a grip on safety

Monday 13th November 2017

DANGEROUS design flaws in buildings are threatening further serious fires like Grenfell, the London Fire Brigade warned yesterday in a landmark review.

The brigade’s report warned “dangerous decisions” are being made due to a lack of safety measures.

It called for loopholes to be closed and for regulation of those responsible for ensuring a building is “fit for purpose.”

Currently there is a lack of scrutiny around whether those who make decisions are sufficiently qualified in fire safety, the study found.

Major problems including construction defects and critical fire safety system flaws were also discovered.

Assistant commissioner for fire safety Dan Daly said: “It took a tragedy for everyone to take fire safety seriously and listen to what the brigade has been saying for years about skills.

“This means that potentially dangerous design flaws could exist within a building until we either find it at a later date, or in the worst case scenario, it is exposed by a serious fire.”

In June, over 80 people died in the disastrous blaze at Grenfell Tower in Kensington. A final death toll has yet to be confirmed.

Concerns about the fire risk posed by cladding used to insulate the 24-storey block were raised in a parliamentary report 17 years previously, and resident warnings went ignored.

The tower block was managed on behalf of Kensington and Chelsea Council by a Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO), which took control of its housing stock in 1996.

In 2016, Grenfell Action Group — made up of tenants — warned in a blog: “Only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO, and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders.”

Following the tragedy, checks on the Ledbury Estate in Southwark found that the structure of blocks was unsafe and could lead to collapse in the event of a gas explosion.

London Fire Brigade is calling for a clampdown on companies which act as building management as well as offering fire engineering design advice. It wants to see a clearer legal definition of their responsibilities.

There also needs to be an independent on-site inspection programme so fire safety elements are included in building designs through to when they are built — a loophole means a fire safety professional is not currently mandatory in designing some elements.

Mr Daly said: “We recognise that this is a once in a generation opportunity to make buildings safer and are actively supporting the review process.”

Shadow fire and emergency services minister Chris Williamson welcomed the “long overdue” recommendations, saying inspections should never have been deregulated under Tony Blair’s government in 2005.

He told the Star: “This laissez faire, cavalier approach leads to a catastrophe like Grenfell. We need to return to the old days of proper oversight by local authorities.”

He also criticised the practice of signing off building works remotely.

Justice For Grenfell campaign co-ordinator Yvette Williams blamed deregulation and privatisation for shortfalls.

She said: “Anybody can do the health and safety checks — you just go on a course for a couple of days. It used to be regulated by the Fire Service, but cuts mean they are no longer responsible.”

Lack of agreed standards mean lack of accountability, she said, adding that cladding used at Grenfell Tower would have been signed off in this way.

Ms Williams said: “Privatisation and deregulation go hand in hand, and were a catalyst for Grenfell to happen.

“Working-class communities are almost always likely to suffer and get the dirty end of the stick.

“It’s all about deregulation, profit, and lack of accountability.”

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3 thoughts on “More Grenfell-style fire disasters in Britain?

  1. Monday 13th November 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Editorial

    THE Grenfell Tower inferno five months ago tomorrow shocked the whole country. Scores of poor people could burn to death because of the greed and indifference of institutions responsible for keeping them safe.

    The Establishment tried all the usual tricks it employs at moments of national tragedy to stop people asking awkward questions: any attempt to investigate why the atrocity had taken place was somehow to disrespect the dead, to “politicise” people’s grief.
    But the usual tricks didn’t work.

    A few weeks earlier after the horror of the Manchester Arena bombing, Jeremy Corbyn had broken with tradition by pointing to the links between terrorist attacks at home and Britain’s involvement in destabilisation and war abroad, and found millions were in agreement with him: fed up to the back teeth of pious hypocrisies uttered by the political class, people were determined to isolate the causes of terrorism so as to stop it.

    After Grenfell it was not a political leader but the community itself that insisted on drawing out the lessons of the disaster. For days the appalling truth kept coming — that residents had repeatedly warned that the tower block was unsafe but been ignored, that the building had been insulated with a highly inflammable form of cladding because the fire-resistant version was slightly more expensive, that the families who lived there in social rented accommodation were seen as an inconvenience and an embarrassment by the Tory-dominated authority of Britain’s richest borough.

    There was a powerful feeling of “never again,” and more than one commentator spoke of Grenfell as a monument to Tory Britain, a symbol of everything rotten about the system.

    This is why we cannot afford to ignore the London Fire Brigade’s call today for regulations to ensure all our buildings are safe — which, as the firebrand MP for Derby North Chris Williamson notes, means turning our backs on years of deregulation and cuts by governments of both Britain’s major parties.

    Cuts are directly related to deteriorating fire safety: last month the Fire Brigades Union revealed that the number of fire safety inspectors has dropped by 28 per cent since 2010, while inspections are down by a fifth in that period.

    Similarly, a laissez-faire attitude to construction has created loopholes that allow unsafe buildings to be built.

    Yet the apostles of Thatcherism are still demanding a bonfire of safety regulations, echoing David Cameron’s infamous call to “kill off the health and safety culture for good.”

    George Osborne’s Evening Standard never stops prodding the government to claw its way out of its existential crisis with a new crusade of the free marketeers, not least on housing, where it has blamed the shortage of affordable homes on “socialist planning laws” and recommends an unregulated free-for-all to “let more homes be built” — a recipe for slums and shanty towns to house the working poor, and, yes, a recipe for more Grenfell Towers.

    As May’s administration lurches from cock-up to catastrophe, it is all too easy for Labour to restrict itself to mocking Tory incompetence and presenting itself as a “safe pair of hands” that will restore order and coherence to government.

    But doing so would be a betrayal of the mass movement for change that is rallying around the party and wants a Corbyn government to end decades of neoliberal economics and drive through a fundamental shift in the balance of power in favour of ordinary people and against big business and the banks.

    Fire safety means better planning, tougher regulation and more public investment. The dead hand of the market has failed. The challenges of the modern world require collective and planned solutions.

    http://www.morningstaronline.co.uk/a-39ca-Fire-safety-and-the-free-market#.WgnjXjuDMdU

    Like

  2. Pingback: London Grenfell disaster victims named | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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