Wednesday, 19 September, 2018

Britain's May demands major investigation after deadly fire

Theresa Hayes | 29 June, 2017, 09:05

A landlord in Manchester, northwest England, said Tuesday that safety tests had failed on 16 of its tower blocks, all clad with a similar aluminium composite material to that used on the Grenfell, although the product was different.

Stuart Ropke, chief executive of CHC, said: "It is hard to imagine the impact that the horrific fire in Grenfell Tower has had on residents and the loved ones of those who lost their lives".

The figures emerged as a fire safety expert raised doubts over the combustibility tests being carried out on cladding samples by the Building Research Establishment (BRE).

In the days and weeks since, scores of high-rise buildings have been deemed unsafe after failing fire tests - leaving thousands of Britons on edge.

A total of 79 people were killed, with just 19 identified so far.

The number of tower blocks in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales with similar cladding is not known.

Up to 38 hospital sites have similar characteristics to Grenfell, with nine of the trusts classed as category one risk, meaning the building is over two storeys, is used by staff and inpatients, and has similar cladding to that of the Kensington high rise.

Theresa May has ordered a major national investigation into the use of potentially flammable cladding on high-rise towers across the country.

The "100% failure" rate was related on Tuesday morning by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, as he updated fellow ministers with the results of the newest tests.

The PM's spokesman told reporters evidence suggests the use of the suspect cladding stretches back at least into the last decade.

The 73 residents of the building in Wuppertal were either asked to stay with friends and relatives or were given access to furnished apartments, of which there is a glut, Braun said, because of preparations for refugee resettlement.

Insurers IF, who conducted tests with Lancashire Fire and Rescue in 2014, say in the real world they burned more fiercely than they did in testing laboratories.

"We believe this is the right decision because of the inconsistency of building codes across the world and issues that have arisen in the wake of the Grenfell Tower", Arconic said in a statement. Other parts of the cladding, including its insulation, were supplied by others, it said. "We will fully support the authorities as they investigate this tragedy".