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September 11, 2020

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Building safety

Social and private landlords urged to accelerate plans to remove and replace ACM cladding

The Mayor of London and London Fire Commissioner have called for faster action on the nationwide building safety crisis.

There are currently 243 high-rise residential and publicly owned buildings that still carry Grenfell-style cladding systems which are unlikely to meet building regulations in England, according to the latest government figures. On top of this, it’s estimated that hundreds of thousands more apartments in buildings use other combustible cladding with other fire safety defects, which pose serious questions about landlords’ commitment to preventing another national tragedy.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has told social and private landlords in the London to ‘accelerate’ their plans to remove and replace aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding. All 51 landlords who have been contacted have had ‘funding applications approved for the government’s social and private sector ACM cladding remediation funds but have failed to begin the work to remove dangerous cladding’. Once again highlighting the ‘unacceptable’ inaction from landlords across the capital.

Andy Roe, who replaced Dany Cotton as head of London Fire Brigade in January following severe criticism of the LFB’s culture and response to the Grenfell disaster has also taken aim at the landlords and developers of thousands of high rise blocks, which more than three years on are still wrapped in dangerous cladding or contain other fire risks.

The London Fire Commissioner said he felt able to call for faster action on the nationwide building safety crisis after initiating a retraining programme for over 1,000 incident commanders, which was put in place after the Grenfell Tower inquiry concluded the LFB’s response was “gravely inadequate” and displayed “serious deficiencies in command and control”.’

Andy Roe stated: “Take your responsibility seriously. If you have cladding on your building, work within the framework that is there to get it off as soon as possible. This is bigger than money. This about people’s lives, their mental and physical wellbeing. You will get my absolute support as London Fire Commissioner to do that.”

These calls come shortly after Labour accused the Government of “going back on its promise to implement recommendations for the first phase of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry”. Opposition MPs attempted to force amendments to the upcoming Fire Safety Bill which would have made measures into law. 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.”

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