General Article Grenfell: four years after the disaster, are our buildings safer?

Topic Selected: Housing Book Volume: 396

Grenfell: four years after the disaster, are our buildings safer?

Paresh Wankhade, Edge Hill University

In the four years since the Grenfell Tower fire, which led to the unconscionable deaths of 72 people, one key question remains unanswered. Are our buildings any safer? The short answer is: not yet.

The facts and figures uncovered in the ongoing Grenfell Tower inquiry and other investigations, continue to shock. An initial key finding of the inquiry’s first report in 2019 was that the external cladding that surrounded Grenfell Tower was largely responsible for the fire spreading so quickly.

Since the fire, over 400 other high rise buildings surveyed around the country have been found to have external wall materials similar to those used on Grenfell Tower. Several more recent tower block fires also show serious fire hazards in high-rise buildings remain.

The Grenfell inquiry’s recommendations so far have focused, primarily, on fire-safety legislation, the readiness and operational c...

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