The cost of removing dangerous flammable must not fall onto building residents, the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) has said. The government must fund residents’ removal costs until those responsible can be held accountable.
Nearly two years on from the Grenfell Tower fire, the same flammable cladding covers a total of 434 residential buildings. Dangerous cladding has been removed from just 29% of social housing blocks and 6% of private residential blocks.
Combustible cladding has been removed from just 10 of the 176 private blocks found to be at risk. The FBU is backing the #EndOurCladdingScandal campaign, launched today by Inside Housing and UK Cladding Action Group, to address an overlooked risk to residents.
Across local authority and private housing, the government should take a risk-based approach to removing cladding and improving fire safety, rather than waiting for blame to be attributed, the FBU believes.
Andy Dark, FBU assistant general secretary, said:
"It’s a scandal that residents who are living in tower blocks covered in flammable cladding and where basic fire safety is substandard have no certainty whatsoever that their homes will be made safe.
“Whether publicly or privately owned the remedial work needs to be completed quickly and the government must take responsibility for getting the job done."
Grenfell Tower’s flammable Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding was one of the key factors that caused the fire to spread so rapidly, alongside the failure of “compartmentalisation”, where each flat is built as a fireproof unit.
The next phase of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry will focus on conditions that led to the fire, including those in business and government who did not act on warnings about unsafe building practices
The FBU is a core participant in the ongoing inquiry and has been a strong advocate for improving tenants’ rights. The union has repeatedly criticised the government for its complacency on Grenfell, cladding, and wider fire safety issues.
Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government, 31 March 2019, Building Safety Programme: Monthly Data Release. Available from: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/793799/Building_Safety_Data_Release_March_2019.pdf