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Letter from Lesley: reflections on Grenfell

08/06/2018 - 02:54PM

As the anniversary of the Grenfell tower fire approaches we should take a little time to reflect on the role health and safety risk management can play in preventing similar tragedies in future. 

It is already clear, even with the official inquiry still in its early days that multiple failings contributed to the inferno and consequent loss of life. This may make it difficult in the end to hold any single person or body to account. This will be a perversion of natural justice but should not give anyone involved cause to sleep better in their beds at night.

Cost cutting will come high on the list of culprits: cheap materials; unskilled labour; poor supervision; little thought; and less care. One thing alone could have been absorbed but the increasingly devolved and out-sourced chain of responsibility probably meant everyone was scrimping and saving and the collective erosion of quality could not be tolerated. Post-completion changes to structure and fittings, where knock-on effects may not have been fully considered, is a risk we need to work together to bring to an end.

There is a clear role for people with APS skills in the future design, build and management of projects. Every building - particularly every high risk or multiple occupancy building - needs someone appropriately skilled to plan and document the building’s life from concept to decommissioning. No one can rewind the world to 13 June 2017, but we can make sure that from the Grenfell anniversary next week no one should die as a result of a failing in joined up thinking.

Source: APS