Confidence in councils falls due to Grenfell tragedy

New survey finds 46% of British adults aren’t as confident in councils overseeing safety of high-rise buildings as they were pre-Grenfell.

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Concerns have arisen over proposals to give more power to local authorities to oversee the safety of high-rise buildings.

A ComRes survey of 2,000 people, for the body representing the UK’s independent building inspectors, found that almost half (46%) of British adults are less confident in local authorities to oversee the safety of high-rise residential buildings – because of the Grenfell Tower fire.

The opinion of just over one-third (36%) has not changed, while fewer than one in 10 (8%) are more confident.

The survey comes ahead of the government’s upcoming response to the Hackitt Review, which recommended handing over sole oversight of the safety of high-rise buildings to local authorities.

The government announced the Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety in July 2017 following the Grenfell Tower tragedy – which claimed 72 lives.

The Hackitt review was set up to make recommendations on a sufficiently robust regulatory system to give residents confidence in the buildings in which they live.

The review has received criticism due to its failure to recommend banning combustible cladding and mandate the use of sprinklers.

The government, meanwhile, has announced a ban on cladding on all new buildings over 18 metres.

ACAI Chairman Paul Wilkins said: “The industry needs proper independent regulation if it is to prevent another tragedy like the Grenfell Tower fire.

“The current proposals risk undermining this by concentrating power in the hands of local authorities.

“The only way to restore public trust is to create a system with proper independent oversight of local authorities and independent inspectors with both being held to the same standards.

“The government must now listen to these concerns to implement a system that works, is open and transparent,” he said.

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