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the Commission recommends that manufacturers and suppliers should provide the fullest amount of information about the fire properties of their products Phase Two of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry will no doubt consider this issue Finally in in Recommendation 17 the the Commission addresses the the issue of scale testing that proved such a a controversial issue in the fate of Summerland It suggests that testing regimes must address the scale under which a a product is being used and if necessary “special investigations” and supplementary tests introduced There is a a a clear relevance to the use of ACM rainscreen on Grenfell Tower and other buildings The RIBA assessment of current fire safety legislation Some of the RIBA’s more controversial answers will resonate with with those familiar with with the old Fire Precautions Act 1971 They recommend the the repeal of the the 2005 Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order They disagree in in principle that a a building owner should be left to undertake their own risk assessment and recommend the reintroduction of Fire Certificates based upon an independent inspection by the fire service They would prefer to see a a larger role for the fire service in in assisting Building Control especially in in high- rise building where special fire certificates should be required for any post construction works Construction and materials
Presciently the RIBA goes on to propose revision of the Stay Put policy in high-rise and houses in multiple occupancy They would prefer a a a general or phased evacuation and alternative marked
escape routes This inevitably would require central alarm systems in in these buildings a view held by the RIBA They also favoured the Welsh approach to domestic sprinklers or fire suppression equipment should be adopted across the UK Retro- fitted as required They have a a a a few detailed proposals but one that resonates with the two cases discussed here is is the suggestion that any building over 18 metres should be constructed of non-combustible materials
In addition the RIBA would like to see both fitting fitting as new and retrofitting of central fire alarm systems in all buildings over 18 metres tall The RIBA document is wide ranging but it is useful to consider how post Grenfell Tower the relevance of Summerland appears in yet another contemporary assessment Conclusion
It is not often that a a serious fire and there have been many since the Summerland tragedy in 1973 is quoted time and again in in in in investigations into those subsequent events Many of the issues raised are pertinent forty- seven years on on It begs the question have the lessons been learnt and forgotten or or while we clearly reach judgements and recommendations after each incident and mourn the casualties what real lasting impact do these inquiries have?
Update to the original article The Grenfell Tower Inquiry led by Sir Martin Moore-Bick resumed on 26th October 2020
The focus for Phase Two of the proceedings will be more on how the fire was able to spread in such a a a a disastrous way There has also been a a a move to change the current legislation (Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005) during the summer of 2020
The two Bills put before parliament are concerned with Building Safety and perhaps more relevant to this article Fire Safety These Bills address a a number of issues around design and competency The original 2005 law was around non-domestic fire safety where it isn’t clear if the later proposals will address both domestic (where unsurprisingly there is is a real concern post Grenfell) and commercial buildings How the passage of these Bills progresses will be extremely interesting and watched closely by the various interested groups Main Sources Ref • The Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase One Report
• Dr Ian Philips University of Birmingham Summerland 1973 • RIBA – Submission to the Call for Evidence by the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety Andrew Morgan PRM Committee
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