Fraction of social housing blocks more than 18m tall pass fire safety tests

8 Sep 17

Only eight of the UK’s 173 social housing blocks which are taller than 18m have passed cladding fire safety tests in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid confirmed the figures in a statement to MPs in Parliament on Tuesday.

He stated he would be meeting with local authorities to discuss remedial work.

Javid told the Commons the Building Research Establishment’s series of large-scale fire safety tests on ACM cladding systems revealed that 165 of 173 social housing blocks had failed to meet the criteria set out in the current building regulations.

“The owners of affected buildings have been given detailed advice drawn up by our independent expert advisory panel,” he said.

Adding: “We will shortly be meeting with local authorities and housing associations to discuss further steps.

“This will include the process by which we will ensure that remedial work is carried out.”

In July confusion emerged over whether central government would pay for fire safety improvement following the tragedy or if the costs would fall on councils.

The government stated it would review all calls for financial support on a case-by-case basis.

Javid also confirmed that since the devastating blaze 12 weeks ago, which is believed to have killed at least 80 people, just 29 households out of 196 had been rehoused – a figure he described as “still low”.

He explained: “One reason for the low take up of temporary home offers is that some residents simply don’t want to move twice and they have said it is their preference to stay where they are until a permanent home becomes available.”

One hundred and one homes were lost to the fire and a total of 196 households from Grenfell Tower and Grenfell Walk still need to be rehoused. 

Javid said: “Everyone who was ready to engage with the process was offered a temporary home within three weeks of the disaster.

“Sixty one households have accepted an offer and 29 have moved in.

“One hundred and fifty three households, including all but two of those who suffered a bereavement, have had face-to-face meetings with the team responsible for offering a choice of permanent homes.”

He stated 164 households have used the online allocation system to look at what permanent accommodation is available and 127 have expressed an interest in one or more properties.

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