Grenfell review calls for "radical rethink" of safety but no cladding ban

Grenfell disaster probe 'finds race to the bottom' in buildings safety practices

Sunderland Towers have cladding replaced

Ministers have announced they are considering a ban on flammable cladding for high-rise buildings just hours after a furious backlash over a review into the Grenfell Tower inferno.

Engineer Judith Hackitt, who has led a review into building regulations and fire safety, has been under pressure from survivors of the fire and some professional bodies to call for a ban on the type of cladding that was used on Grenfell Tower.

The report comes in the wake of the deadly fire at the west London tower block last June, which killed 71 people.

It led to high rises in Sunderland being looked at, and work is now underway at the towers on Dame Dorothy Street having their cladding replaced this week.

In the report, Hackitt said: "Currently regulations and guidance are not always read by those who need to, and when they do the guidance is misunderstood and misinterpreted".

But the review said it would fall short of a ban on flammable cladding because it would "not address the root causes" of the problems in building regulations.

She also did not recommend a ban on so-called "desktop studies", assessments that can be used to approve cladding without physical fire safety tests taking place.

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Hackitt said she was recommending a complete overhaul of the building regulations system that was aimed at catching problems at the design or construction stage, before buildings were commissioned for people to live in.

Dame Judith, an engineer who chaired the Health and Safety Executive for almost a decade, told Today that she "absolutely recognised the level of concern and distress" felt by Grenfell survivors and residents of similar tower blocks around the country.

This final report sets out over 50 recommendations for government as to how to deliver a more robust regulatory system for the future.

- A more rigorous and transparent product testing regime. The chairman, along with building firms and opposing politicians are demanding an immediate ban on cladding. We need to hear from Government a clear promise that these risky materials will never be used on homes again.

The report comes just a day after the government announced a £400m operation to remove unsafe cladding from tower blocks owned by councils and housing associations.

Shahin Sadafi, chair of the Grenfell United survivors group, told Today it was "very disappointing" that the report appears not to include an outright ban on flammable cladding.

The report recommends are "very clear model of ownership", with clear responsibilities for the client, designer, contractor and owner to demonstrate the delivery and maintenance of safe buildings, which is overseen and held to account by a new Joint Competent Authority (JCA). "Our sector needs to act quickly, focusing on how we change the way responsibility is divided on projects, working with the government and the supply chain to ensure that we all understand how we can properly fulfil our roles".

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