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Panoramic view of polythene wrapped Grenfell Tower and surrounding buildings © Guy William / shutterstock

Lessons from Grenfell

Has enough been done by the government on safety since the disaster and if not, why not?

By Gill Kernick  

As we approach the fourth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire, the question of whether “enough has been done” will likely be played out in the usual rounds of political point scoring. But any reflection about our response needs to start at the base of the tower.

Grenfell revealed systemic issues with building safety. Estimates are that resolving all fire safety issues in Britain that arise from dangerous cladding, missing cavity barriers and non-compliant fire-doors will cost £50bn. The government ordered the removal of the type of cladding found on Grenfell from 469 high-rise residential buildings. There are estimates that a further 1,700 high-rise and 28,000 medium-rise buildings have other types of cladding that also need to be removed. In 2020, 81 high-rise buildings had their ACM cladding work completed. Even at a rate of 100 buildings a year, it will take 17 years to remove and replace…

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