Second phase of Grenfell inquiry ‘must focus on devastating refurbishment’

Second phase of Grenfell inquiry ‘must focus on devastating refurbishment’

The second phase of the UK's public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster must focus on who is to blame for the “devastating refurbishment” of the building, a group representing survivors has said.

The report of the first stage of the probe, looking at what happened on the night of the blaze, was published today.

The general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, Matt Wrack, told the BBC the order of the inquiry was “completely back-to-front” – a concern which has previously been voiced by the local community.

Campaign group Justice 4 Grenfell said firefighters “have been made scapegoats of Phase 1 while the ‘big’ players seem to have got off scott-free”.

Second phase of Grenfell inquiry ‘must focus on devastating refurbishment’

Inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick said the findings in his report will form a “springboard” for the next stage of his probe.

“I decided to begin the inquiry with an investigation of the events which occurred during the night of the fire because only a detailed understanding of what happened would enable me to identify effectively those aspects of the design, construction and management of the building that were primarily responsible for the disaster,” he wrote.

“It is clear from what has been learnt so far that the building suffered a total failure of compartmentation. How the building came to be in that state is the most pressing question to be answered in Phase 2.”

Sir Martin will focus on the decisions that led to the highly combustible cladding being installed on the 24-storey tower block.

He will investigate the design of the cladding and choice of materials, the testing and certification of the materials, and the role of central and local government in promoting fire safety.

Second phase of Grenfell inquiry ‘must focus on devastating refurbishment’

Other questions include whether fire doors complied with regulations, if the design of the windows during the refurbishment made it possible for fire to spread to the cladding, and whether lifts were properly maintained.

Sir Martin also said he will look further at the structure and management of the London Fire Brigade and its preparations for fighting fires in high-rise blocks.

Grenfell United, which represents some victims of the fire, said: “Phase 2 of the inquiry must now focus on where responsibility for the devastating refurbishment lies.

“The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the tenant management organisation and all companies involved must face serious questions."

“There can be no more hiding or trying to shift the blame. This is just the beginning.

“There is still a long road ahead for justice and change. For the 72 people that we lost, who are forever in our hearts, we will not stop until change comes.”

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