Fire Safety In New Builds And Old

Following the tragedy that was Grenfell, London Mayor Sadiq Khan has published plans to prioritise fire safety

The Mayor’s London Plan, published for consultation on Wednesday 29 November, introduces a requirement for every new housing development to reach the “highest level” of fire safety, including robust evacuation plans as well as sprinkler systems and fire evacuation lifts.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan also backs the retrofitting of sprinklers in high rise buildings – something which the commissioner of the London Fire Brigade has already said “must happen”.

Under the Mayor’s proposals, planning applications must include fire safety evaluations by a qualified assessor. Sadiq Khan explained that “the safety of Londoners is my priority and it is absolutely essential that we learn every lesson we can from the terrible Grenfell tragedy, and do everything within our power to make sure nothing like it can happen again.”

Currently, developers are not obliged to address fire safety at the planning application stage – it comes in later, at the building control stage. But the new proposals will put fire safety at the very start of every development.

It is clear after Grenfell that things need to change, but what has changed so far?

Newham and Tower Hamlets councils have both implemented fire safety tests on high rise residential blocks in their boroughs, removing cladding where necessary. Both councils have also written to central government asking for additional funds to support further new fire safety plans.

Newham council has established an Overview and Scrutiny Committee regarding fire safety in tower blocks. But since this committee has been meeting behind closed doors, what it is covering is not widely known.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, at head of Pride Parade, 25 June 2016” by chrisjohnbeckett is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND