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Fire Safety in the wake of Grenfell Tower – what questions, and for whom?

  • United Kingdom
  • Construction and engineering
  • Real estate
  • Consumer
  • Energy and infrastructure
  • Public
  • Technology, Media and Telecoms


The tragic fire at Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017 has meant a renewed focus by Government, regulators and the public on fire safety and proactive management of fire safety risks.

Whether commercial, educational or residential, any multi-storey premises or premises constructed with cladding is coming under increased scrutiny. The Government and Fire and Rescue Services across the country are advising both public and private sector organisations to check any cladding for Aluminium Composite Materials (“ACM”), and carry out combustibility tests if present. Our strong recommendation is that any such advice should be followed, in view of the potential consequences, including criminal liability for breach of health & safety legislation, in the event of an incident.

In addition, given the heightened focus on fire safety by the regulators, our advice is that a wider review of fire safety arrangements is timely. While clearly very important, the focus on ACMs and cladding has, to an extent, diverted attention away from the much broader issue of fire risk assessment of all aspects of a building.

Key questions

  1. Could this be an issue for our premises / portfolio of properties?
  2. Do any premises we own, operate or let fall within the cladding testing requirements?
  3. Are we complying with our fire safety duties? Even if cladding isn’t an issue, it is an opportune time to check when fire safety arrangements were last scrutinised. Do they need to be revisited and updated?

Who should ask these questions?

  1. Owners, occupiers, landlords – or anyone with control over or responsibility for the management of large commercial (including public sector) or residential properties, multi-storey or multi-occupancy premises
  2. Property portfolio/ investment managers
  3. Those planning to acquire premises as part of a property and/or a corporate transaction

In the current climate, a regulator is likely to have little sympathy if there is a lack of evidenced assurance these questions have all been asked and answered. The court of public opinion will be even less understanding.

Our EHS team has many years of experience in dealing with all aspects of fire safety compliance, and can answer any questions you may have.