Lessons to be learned – Grenfell Tower tragedy

29 November 2017

The tragedy of the Grenfell Tower blaze in London earlier this summer continues to unfold, as more victims were recently identified.

At this time there is an estimate of 80 deaths, based on this data the insurance payout will be to about £50m – of which 95% will be paid by the reinsurer Munich Re. Cunningham Lindsey has been appointed as loss adjuster on the claim. The losses could have been even higher, but has been reported that many of the residents in the block did not have contents insurance.

In late June, it emerged that the ABI had warned the government of the dangers of flammable cladding on buildings just a month before the Grenfell Tower fire. The Association of British Insurers (ABI) expressly mentioning that the outdated building regulations should be reviewed because they had failed to keep pace with modern construction methods, including the installation of large quantities of flammable surfaces and that the external cladding made from combustible material can often cause significant fire to spread upwards and between buildings, which is a particular concern for areas of high building density, all which increases the probability of fire and potential scale of loss. The Association underlined that although the number of fires it recorded had fallen, the costs linked with each one had almost tripled in 10 years, as fires became more severe due to changing construction methods.

An independent review (led by Judith Hackitt) into the safety of cladding, suspected to have been a major contributor to the spread the Grenfell fire, has now begun.

Experts have previously voiced concerns that building regulations are unclear on combustible cladding, which has allowed their use by contractors. According to a report, the Fire Brigades Union and the Loss Prevention Council suggested almost two decades ago that the cladding guidelines were inadequate.

The Department for Communities and Local Government also said it will look at how the rest of the world handles fire safety issues in similar buildings. New whole system tests were introduced after hundreds of cladding samples failed flammability tests in recent months.

Note: The present material represents a review of the article which may be accessed here.

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