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UK review after tower block fire sparks controversy

Britain should not ban the cladding blamed for fuelling last year’s Grenfell Tower fire, despite pressure from architects and the families of the 71 victims, a government review said Thursday.


“Cladding is one issue, there are many other features and many other shortcuts out there that could result in other disasters in the future which we need to address,” review author Dame Judith Hackitt told BBC Radio 4.

“It is about more than simply issuing a ban on certain materials,” she said, advocating for a “new regulatory framework” rather than an outright embargo.

The engineer said tests are already mandated to ensure materials used in tower block construction are of “limited combustibility” or that they have been “fully tested” — but that individuals are currently “cutting costs and not taking responsibility.”

 Twenty-four storey Grenfell Tower was covered in panels of cladding which were never subjected to fire safety testing, The Times reported in February.

The recommendations of her review “would have prevented the type of materials that were used on Grenfell tower from getting onto the building in the first place,” Hackitt said.

Families of those killed in the June 14 disaster as well as architects have urged Hackitt to introduce a total ban on the use of the cladding.

“People are not safe in their homes,” Shahin Sadafy, chair of survivors’ group Grenfell United told the BBC.

“Today we want her to look us in the eye and tell us that these dangerous materials will never be used again.”

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Theresa May announced the government will fund ฃ400 million of work to strip 158 social housing blocks of cladding matching the type used on Grenfell.


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