Following the Grenfell Tower fire, a great deal of attention has been focused on the specification and fire resistance of cladding systems. However, in our experience removing cladding systems for the purposes of replacement will often lead to the identification of wider issues including fire compartmentation defects and structural issues. Often these defects arise as a consequence of poor workmanship and quality control during the construction of buildings. Today the BBC carried an article which illustrated those issues quite starkly.
The aim of the forthcoming Building Safety Bill is to strengthen the regulatory environment in order to improve the safety of residents in High Risk Residential Buildings. Any steps towards increased resident safety will be welcomed. However, a lingering question remains as to whether top down regulation will be sufficient to address widespread quality failures within the construction industry and to promote the necessary culture change.
"The issue is the building may look fantastic on the outside with the cladding correctly fitted, but once you've taken the cladding off, what we uncover is quite a mess in many instances. "After Grenfell everyone realised perhaps their buildings were not compliant with building regulations and found a necessity to undertake the intrusive works to make sure [whether] they're compliant or not, and in the majority of cases, they are not."