Karl Sands, Roofing Director of Wirral-based HS RoofClad, gives his thoughts on what’s happened post Grenfell, and the issues that still remain for the sector moving forward.
“Two years on from the devastating catastrophe of Grenfell Tower, it is alarming to see that many high rise buildings across the UK may still comprise of non-compliant exterior cladding, and may still pose a fire risk.
“Whilst it is clear that the industry as a whole reacted quickly to the tragedy in 2017, and with so many investigations having been undertaken, it is also alarming to note that at least 40% of cladding compliance tests that HS RoofClad have undertaken in the last twelve months, have failed due to the existence of combustible materials.
“As the ongoing inquiry will undoubtedly uncover one day, there are a number of areas that could have fallen short and may have been a contributing factor with the cladding failure of Grenfell Tower. Whilst there does appear to be some cutting of corners and a number of companies are under scrutiny, it is not the time to be pointing fingers and laying the blame at anyone’s door. Everyone’s focus should now be on ensuring that other buildings do not suffer the same disaster.
“It is vital that all aspects of roofing and cladding are assessed to identify potential fire strategy gaps. If this can be done at design stages, then clearly that is the best place to start. If this is required on existing installations, specialist roofing and cladding contractors, along with fire safety specialists, should be considered and this is the only way to ensure full documented safety precautions are met. I’m sure many of my fellow industry leaders would agree that there is a definite gap in regulations and relevant training, something we should all be considering as a priority.
“On a separate note, it would be interesting to understand what portion, if any, of the £200m government funding made available for cladding removal and replacement, for private and public high rise properties, has actually been accessed, and the necessary improvements implemented.”