Why our building codes won't be used after London tower fire

 

BRITAIN has rejected Australia's building regulations in a damning report into the deadly Grenfell Tower fire.

The interim report led by Dame Judith Hackitt compared Britain's building regulations for high-rise apartments to those in several other countries including Australia and found they were "not fit for purpose".

The report did not pass judgment on Australia's building regulations. But it rejected calls to copy Australian rules on installing water sprinklers, saying these may not prevent fire spreading externally on a building, like it did in Grenfell.

 

The high-rise condominium in London in flames.
The high-rise condominium in London in flames. Kyodo / AAP

The report said the British review would also watch the findings of a Victorian Government taskforce into the safety of cladding on buildings in that state.

Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey public housing building in west London, was destroyed by fire on June 14.

Seventy-one people died in the blaze, which spread quickly when cladding on the exterior of the building caught fire.

There have been several reviews into the disaster and a safety audit identified hundreds of other buildings in London that have similar flammable cladding.

The charred remains of the tower have become a symbol of substandard public housing in the UK amid a bitter debate about the high cost of property in the capital.

The review called for a sweeping changes to safety standards covering high-rise buildings.

FIREFIGHTERS are battling a huge raging inferno that has engulfed a block of flats in north London.
Shocked onlookers filmed the blaze as it tore through Grenfell Tower, a residential block in north London, with some witnesses reporting
FIREFIGHTERS are battling a huge raging inferno that has engulfed a block of flats in north London. Shocked onlookers filmed the blaze as it tore through Grenfell Tower, a residential block in north London, with some witnesses reporting "screaming from inside". AAP

"Many of the findings to date clearly identify the need for a major cultural shift across all of those who are part of the system within the construction, operation and maintenance of complex and high-risk buildings," the report said.

"The focus must shift from achieving lowest cost to providing buildings which are safe and fit for people to live in for years to come."

UK Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, who commissioned the review, told parliament the government accepted all the recommendations and would overhaul the rules.

"The current system is complex and confusing, a situation that has developed over many years and under successive governments," Mr Javid told the House of Commons.

The report warned the current rules gave too much room for interpretation and needed to be tightened up. It also said workers in the construction industry, including inspectors and maintenance staff, were not always competent or properly accredited.

A final report on safety standards is due in the first half of 2018.



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