Government votes down Grenfell phase one recommendations

Labour has accused the government of going back on its promise to implement recommendations from the first phase of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, following a failed bid to pass them in the House of Commons.

Opposition MPs tried to force an amendment to the Fire Safety Bill on Monday night, which would have made the measures, relating to the responsibilities of building owners, law.

Separate recommendations relating to testing and certification of building materials are expected to be made after the ongoing second phase of the inquiry has been completed.

Sir Martin Moore-Bick's phase one recommendations that MPs tried to add to the Fire Safety Bill say building owners should have to share information with fire services about building design and materials, share evacuation and fire safety instructions with residents and regularly inspect entrance doors and lifts for safety purposes.

The Conservative Party said last year it would implement the measures, but legislation for the measures has not yet been passed. Home Office minister James Brokenshire said a consultation relating to the changes is ongoing.

Shadow minister for policing and fire Sarah Jones criticised Conservative MPs for voting against her attempt to pass the law and for the number of buildings that are still covered in combustible cladding.

She said: "They continue to shirk responsibility on fire safety after the most powerful and tragic lesson imaginable. Despite words saying this must never happen again, tens of thousands of people are still living in buildings with flammable cladding.

"Labour will continue to press the government to do the right thing, deliver on their promises and get the cladding ripped off urgently. There should be no backsliding on a commitment that a fire like Grenfell can never happen again."

A government spokesperson said: "We are doing everything in our power to implement the first phase recommendations of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry in the most practical, proportionate and effective way to ensure such a tragedy can never happen again.

"Our proposals go further than the inquiry's recommendations in many ways, such as inspection requirements on equipment, on information for residents and on external walls.

"We are now seeking the views of those most affected by the inquiry before deciding on our final approach."

Article source: Architects' Journal
Author: Ian Weinfass

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Grenfell Fire safety