Inside Housing has launched updated aims for its fire safety campaign, calling for a commitment for all dangerous cladding to be removed from high rise buildings by the end of the year.
The Never Again campaign was launched in the weeks following the Grenfell Tower fire, with a series of aims targetting both government and social landlords.
These included calling on landlords to take immediate action to check and remedy dangerous cladding and government to immediately update and clarify building regulations.
It was endorsed by the National Housing Federation, the Chartered Institute of Housing, Placeshapers and the G15 group of London’s largest associations, and later updated to call on government to fund the removal of cladding - a promise finally made by Theresa May last month.
All of these organisations continue to support the new aims, with the National Federation of ALMOs also supporting the calls.
The updated aims call on government to stand by this commitment, even if the £400m earmarked proves insufficient.
It also calls for ministers to ban combustible materials of all types on the outside of high rise buildings and set a timescale for implementing the findings of the Hackitt Review.
Social landlords are asked to commit to remove dangerous cladding by the end of 2018 and publish risk assessments for their high rise blocks.
Emma Maier, editor of Inside Housing, said: “The tragedy at Grenfell Tower was compounded by the failure of the sector and successive government’s to truly learn the lessons of previous disasters and near misses.
“This dates right back to the Ronan Point disaster in the 1960s, and extends to the Shepherd’s Court fire - just months before Grenfell. This time must be different and that is why we are calling on the sector and government to take the necessary action to truly say Never Again.”
Debbie Larner, head of practice at the Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), said: “One year on from the terrible fire at Grenfell there are still many unanswered questions and areas where clarification is urgently needed. This is why it is important to support the Inside Housing campaign - Never Again. If we are to truly honour those who lost their lives, we must keep going until we have systems and processes in place that will ensure another similar tragedy never happens."
Eamon McGoldrick, chief executive of the National Federation of ALMOs, said: “One year on from the terrible fire at Grenfell there are still many unanswered questions and areas where clarification is urgently needed.
"This is why it is important to support the Inside Housing campaign - Never Again. If we are to truly honour those who lost their lives, we must keep going until we have systems and processes in place that will ensure another similar tragedy never happens."
In the days following the Grenfell Tower fire on 14 June 2017, Inside Housing launched the Never Again campaign to call for immediate action to implement the learning from the Lakanal House fire, and a commitment to act – without delay – on learning from the Grenfell Tower tragedy as it becomes available.
One year on, we have extended the campaign asks in the light of information that has emerged since.
Here are our updated asks:
· Act on the recommendations from Dame Judith Hackitt’s review of building regulations to tower blocks of 18m and higher. Commit to producing a timetable for implementation by autumn 2018, setting out how recommendations that don’t require legislative change can be taken forward without delay
· Follow through on commitments to fully ban combustible materials on high-rise buildings
· Unequivocally ban desktop studies
· Review recommendations and advice given to ministers after the Lakanal House fire and implement necessary changes
· Publish details of all tower blocks with dangerous cladding, insulation and/or external panels and commit to a timeline for remedial works. Provide necessary guidance to landlords to ensure that removal work can begin on all affected private and social residential blocks by the end of 2018. Complete quarterly follow-up checks to ensure that remedial work is completed to the required standard. Checks should not cease until all work is completed.
· Stand by the prime minister’s commitment to fully fund the removal of dangerous cladding
· Fund the retrofitting of sprinkler systems in all tower blocks across the UK (except where there are specific structural reasons not to do so)
· Explore options for requiring remedial works on affected private sector residential tower blocks
· Take immediate action to identify privately owned residential tower blocks so that cladding and external panels can be checked
· Publish details of the combinations of insulations and cladding materials for all high rise blocks
· Commit to ensuring that removal work begins on all blocks with dangerous materials by the end of 2018 upon receipt of guidance from government
· Publish current fire risk assessments for all high rise blocks (the Information Commissioner has required councils to publish and recommended that housing associations should do the same). Work with peers to share learning from assessments and improve and clarify the risk assessment model.
· Commit to renewing assessments annually and after major repair or cladding work is carried out. Ensure assessments consider the external features of blocks. Always use an appropriate, qualified expert to conduct assessments.
· Review and update evacuation policies and ‘stay put’ advice in the light of risk assessments, and communicate clearly to residents
· Adopt Dame Judith Hackitt’s recommended approach for listening to and addressing tenants’ concerns, with immediate effect