Grenfell – investigations continue.
Louise Upton, former head of the fire safety policy team at the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) in 2009, was questioned about her role in the decision to not impose higher standards on risk assessors in the aftermath of the lethal fire at Lakanal House.
Fire safety rules, introduced in 2005, created a new duty for building owners to carry out risk assessments on buildings containing multiple homes, but set no requirements for the competency of those carrying out said assessments.
Local authorities raised concerns over the competency of fire risk assessors at this stage, but Louise Upton was accused of ‘frustrating’ and ‘inventing’ reasons not to support such an initiative. Allegedly, this lasted for a 20-month period, despite her being aware of concerns as early as March 2009.
After delving into a number of reports during the period, counsel for the inquiry, Andrew Kinnier Qc, asked Louise if she agreed that “the theme emerging through all of those reports is clear and consistent that there were reservations, to put it mildly, about the competence of fire risk assessors in England?” Read more…
A government official has admitted to making ‘unsound’ assumptions regarding the need for a national competency scheme for fire risk assessors.