A new report by the London Assembly's Planning and Housing Committee has called for an urgent review of fire safety regulations. The report suggests that the government should not wait until 2012 to begin its planned review of fire regulations because there is already a significant level of concern within the industry, particularly about the safety of timber-framed sites following a spate of recent fires. The Committee's report also calls for improvements to the way fire risks are managed in tall residential buildings, claiming that at present, one in five fire risk assessments in London is inadequate.

According to a statement, the investigation was prompted by current policy priorities which demand new homes at higher densities, as well as the use of low-carbon materials such as sustainably-sourced timber. 

Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee, Nicky Gavron AM, said: "This is an issue that cannot wait. There is a crisis of confidence about the safety of tall and timber-framed buildings and the government and construction industry must act now to tighten regulations and reduce fire risk. As we construct at higher densities and with more environmentally-friendly materials, we will see more tall and timber-framed buildings. It is therefore vital to current and future residents that we get fire safety absolutely right."

Deputy Chair of the Planning and Housing Committee, Jenny Jones AM, said: "This report should ring an alarm bell for government and the construction industry. Our investigation has uncovered a number of gaps in fire safety policy and practice. These must be addressed urgently to improve fire safety, both while buildings are under construction, and once they are occupied." 

For more details of the report, see the February 2011 issue of FIRE.

 

Posted December 21 2010