Wednesday 29 January 2020

Review of funding for fire safety inspections after Grenfell blaze

Grenfell Tower in west London. Photo: PA
Grenfell Tower in west London. Photo: PA

Paul Melia

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy is to meet with local authorities in the coming weeks to ensure they have sufficient resources to complete building inspections in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy which has claimed at least 80 lives.

Mr Murphy said city and county councils had begun implementing a risk-based inspection regime over recent years, with some 300 building inspectors across the country, and that local authorities would be asked to set out what resources they needed or if legislative changes were required to complete assessments.

A dedicated taskforce has been established, and investigations are under way into any potential fire risk posed by cladding on buildings more than 18 metres high, and on multi-unit housing schemes of six storeys or more.

The minister's comments came after Dublin Fire Brigade's chief fire officer Patrick Fleming said more resources were needed to help local authorities carry out building control inspections. A review of cladding on residential buildings of more than six storeys in Dublin had not raised any issues, Mr Murphy said.

"What I understand from the chief fire officer in Dublin is their inspections have brought no concerns about illegal or improper use of this cladding in Dublin but I have requested that similar inspections happen in every local authority," he said.

"We don't yet know the lessons of Grenfell. It appears it might have been the cladding, but it could have been a multiplicity of things. I'm meeting with all fire authorities in the coming weeks and we will talk about resource issues and legislative change."

Dublin Lord Mayor Mícheál Mac Donncha welcomed the call for more resources for local authorities to carry out inspections, saying he welcomed plans by Dublin City Council to introduce a system of on-site inspections during construction works for fire safety issues.

Irish Independent

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