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The Paper Trail: the Failure of Building Regulations

Inside Housing has published The Paper Trail – a review of the failures in the system of building regulations in the build-up to the Grenfell Tower disaster. 

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The Paper Trail: the failure of building regulations #ukhousing

Our mammoth three part investigation into the failure of building regulations #ukhousing

The legality of the cladding, the rise of combustible insulation and the missed warnings explored #ukhousing

The investigation is split into three parts.

First, an examination of the guidance which appeared to permit the dangerous cladding used on Grenfell.

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Second, an in-depth look at how regulations were slowly weakened to permit untested combinations of flammable material to be installed on the outside of many of the country’s high rises.

And third, the story of how an obsession with deregulation meant the warning signs of a looming disaster were missed.

The full story is available to read here.

It follows a previous paper trail investigation, published in August, examining the build-up to the fire in Kensington and Chelsea.

Never Again campaign

Never Again campaign

Inside Housing has launched a campaign to improve fire safety following the Grenfell Tower fire

Never Again: campaign asks

Inside Housing is calling 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.


  • Take immediate action to check cladding and external panels on tower blocks and take prompt, appropriate action to remedy any problems
  • Update risk assessments using an appropriate, qualified expert.
  • Commit to renewing assessments annually and after major repair or cladding work is carried out
  • Review and update evacuation policies and ‘stay put’ advice in light of risk assessments, and communicate clearly to residents


  • Provide urgent advice on the installation and upkeep of external insulation
  • Update and clarify building regulations immediately – with a commitment to update if additional learning emerges at a later date from the Grenfell inquiry
  • Fund the retrofitting of sprinkler systems in all tower blocks across the UK (except where there are specific structural reasons not to do so)

We will submit evidence from our research to the Grenfell public inquiry.

The inquiry should look at why opportunities to implement learning that could have prevented the fire were missed, in order to ensure similar opportunities are acted on in the future.



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