Javid still does not know how and why illegal cladding used on so many blocks


I have just interviewed Sajid Javid, the communities secretary of state, about the Grenfell Tower catastrophe and its aftermath.

I will post the full transcript when I have it. But in the meantime this is what stood out for me.

First he confirmed 224 examples of cladding tested so far were “non-compliant” and are illegal to use on high-rise buildings.

Unfortunately he is unable to say yet how and why this cladding with an inflammable core was used so regularly – or indeed whether anyone will be prosecuted or held accountable in any way for its use.

Of course if you live in one of those 224 blocks with non-compliant cladding (and there will be other blocks placed soon in that anxiety-inducing category) you will desperately want and need to know whether you are safe.

So Javid, with advice from a committee of experts he created, has now commissioned more comprehensive tests of the cladding core and shell, and associated insulation – to ascertain whether there are other materials around the combustible core that are so fire resistant as to significantly reduce the fire risk.

Unfortunately not a single one of these tests has yet been completed.

So a month after Grenfell we are none the wiser about how many social-housing buildings are vulnerable to conflagration.

Surely this is profoundly troubling.

Also just 17 of 159 Grenfell families who want to be rehoused have so far accepted temporary accommodation.

And it will be an indeterminate time before any accept new permanent accommodation, he conceded.

Am I wrong that this process of finding proper new homes for these devastated families feels shockingly and painfully slow?

Finally, and this slightly amazed me, he has yet to meet Sir Martin Moore-Bick, the retired appeal court judge chairing the public inquiry into the Grenfell disaster.

He was aware, he said, much of the Grenfell community lacked confidence in Moore-Bick and he saw it as a priority to build that confidence – but oddly not such a priority that he has quizzed Moore-Bick himself.


World News


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