Managing Editor, IFSEC Insider

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James Moore is the Managing Editor of IFSEC Insider, the leading online publication for security and fire news in the industry.James writes, commissions, edits and produces content for IFSEC Insider, including articles, breaking news stories and exclusive industry reports. He liaises and speaks with leading industry figures, vendors and associations to ensure security and fire professionals remain abreast of all the latest developments in the sector.
May 27, 2021


Lithium-Ion batteries. A guide to the fire risk that isn’t going away but can be managed

Grenfell Inquiry

Grenfell fire risk assessor had “misleading” qualifications and “copied” other building reports into assessments

On Tuesday 25 May the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, currently in Module three of its second phase, heard that the fire risk assessor hired to check the safety of Grenfell Tower between 2009 and 2016 had “misleading” qualifications in his title and “cut and pasted assessments” from reports on other buildings he checked into Grenfell assessments. 

Carl Stokes, a former firefighter turned fire risk assessor was recruited by the Grenfell landlord, the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisations (TMO), for six fire safety checks between 2009 and 2016. According to The Guardian, Mr Stokes claimed he was ‘fire eng (FPA)’, despite no such qualification existing, as well as an ‘IFE assessor/auditor’, even though he was not a member of the Institute of Fire Engineers. Also included were ‘NEBOSH’, ‘FIA BS5839 system designer’ and ‘competent engineer BS 5266’ – but agreed when responding to the Inquiry that such post-nominals aren’t recognised by any professional body, but were simply courses he had attended.

Colin Todd, a Fire Engineer and Expert Witness – who spoke last year during FIREX Digital Week – commented that Mr Stokes use of such letters after his name would “significantly mislead clients and potential clients as to his qualifications, regardless of his level of competence”. Stokes replied he did not understand the use of post-nominals.

As part of the fire risk assessment his job involved checking vital fire safety measures in communal areas, such as door closures, firefighting equipment and evacuation routes, though was not tasked with checking the external cladding system or inside individual flats. Several of these areas were, however, found to be not working or ineffective at the time of the fire.

The Inquiry also heard that Mr Stokes “cut-and-pasted assessments about the fire safety of the tower from reports on other buildings he had carried out”, such as reporting the Tower had balconies and pigeon netting, which was incorrect, while his claimed “three years of experience” turned out to be 15 months.

Two of the assessments he conducted were carried out in April and June 2016, following major refurbishment work where the cladding that was identified as a major cause of the spread of the fire was installed.

On the second day of giving evidence, it was found that only two residents were identified as vulnerable by Mr Stokes who would require extra assistance in an evacuation, despite the Inquiry finding evidence in March that 41% of the vulnerable residents of the tower died. The Inquiry was told that he had relied on KCTMO to provide him with information about vulnerable residents that would require Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs).

Mr Stokes is no longer working as a fire risk assessor.


Connect with the fire safety community online 1-30 June

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FIREX Connect, the month-long online event, will give attendees the opportunity to make up for lost time by browsing fire safety solutions, connecting with suppliers and getting up-to-date on the latest legislation from the comfort of your home.

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Stephen Sykes
Stephen Sykes
June 2, 2021 3:18 pm

Whilst Mr Stokes may of got a lot wrong. The cladding and the PEEPs are not in the PAS-79 methodology so we may be misleading some readers.
If the expert panel devising the new PAS don’t think these 2 items should be in the scope of the assessment why do we think Mr Stokes would.