are a particular type of cladding made of Aluminium Composite Material (ACM).” While the police investigation into the

tragedy is still ongoing, it is suspected that the composite aluminium and polyester-coated panels used during the tower’s refurbishment may have contributed to the rapid spread of the blaze. In the correspondence released by the

DCLG on 19 June, Dawes stressed that “ACM cladding is not of itself dangerous, but it is important that the right type is used.” Housing providers who find this type of cladding on their buildings have to test samples of it ‘at no cost’, while the ‘testing facility’ will also be made available to residential landlords. Landlords were required to do the

checks by the end of the day “or as soon as possible thereafter,” ensuring they:

• identify and record the number of properties that are more than 18 metres high;

• identify and record the properties that have been clad with aluminium type panels;

• inspect those identified to establish whether they are panels made of an Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) and record this.

The letter stated that landlords need to

check if the core material of the ACM panels is of limited combustibility when such cladding is used on buildings more than 18 metres high.

ADVISORY PANEL APPOINTED Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has announced an independent expert advisory panel to recommend measures to be put in place to safeguard buildings. The expert panel will look at any immediate action that is required, “so the public can be confident that everything possible is being done to make all public and private buildings safe as quickly as possible,” said Javid. The panel will be made up of a range

of building and fire safety experts, and will be chaired by Sir Ken Knight, former London Fire Commissioner and former Government Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser. Other core members of the panel will be

Dr Peter Bonfield, chief executive of the Building Research Establishment; Roy Wilsher, chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council; and Amanda Clack, president of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors and a partner at EY. The panel has a wealth of experience in

fire and building safety, including testing processes. They will also draw in wider technical expertise as necessary to inform their advice to the Communities Secretary. Dr Peter Bonfield commented on the

appointment: “It is important that the best expertise from across our industry, the research communities, the professions and the public sector is drawn out to support the government and society at this critical time of need. “I look forward to working with Sir Ken

and drawing in expertise which will help address the challenges faced. I know that the will to positively contribute from professional bodies and others is strong, and we will deploy this to support our work.” A separate independent Public Inquiry

will investigate what happened and who was responsible for the disaster, and will be chaired by retired Court of Appeal judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick.

HOUSING ACQUIRED The Government acquired 68 homes in a luxury residential development in south Kensington to rehouse some of the residents affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster. Sajid Javid announced that the homes,

a mix of one, two and three bedroom flats across two blocks, are “newly-built social housing”, part of the Kensington Row scheme. It is hoped they will become permanent homes for some the displaced residents. Javid said: “Our priority is to get

everyone who has lost their home permanently rehoused locally as soon as possible, so that they can begin to rebuild their lives.” Kensington Row, part of the £2bn

Warwick Road masterplan, is developed by St Edward (part of Berkeley Group) and features a 24-hour concierge, a leisure suite, a private cinema and gardens, while apartments on sale start at £1.5m. The developer has committed extra staff

to complete the social housing flats by the end of July, while the Government- imposed working-hour restrictions have been relaxed in order to fast-track the completion. The Government has also provided additional funding to fit out the flats and promised that each home will be fully furnished and completed “to a high specification”.


Although a fire on such a scale is unprecedented in the UK, there have been a number of similar incidents both here and around the world. The FSF has long expressed major concerns about the apparent disjoint in the processes which aim to ensure fire safety within the built environment, as well as concerns about the combustibility of certain modern building materials.

While we must wait for a full investigation into the cause of the fire and the reasons for such rapid fire spread, the Fire Sector Federation will be continuing to campaign for improvements in fire safety legislation and in ensuring the safety of the public and our built environment.

Paul Fuller CBE, Chair of the Fire Sector Federation said: “Today’s tragedy will be felt throughout the fire sector, where all our efforts are focussed on ensuring the safety of our communities and of ensuring that our buildings are adequately protected.

“We wish to express our heartfelt condolences to all those affected by this terrible event and pay tribute to the fire service which once again has shown its bravery and professionalism in its response to this incident.

“There is no doubt that there will be questions to answer and the Fire Sector Federation will continue to investigate and campaign for improvements in fire protection and fire safety legislation.”

Sajid Javid Melanie Dawes


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