The fallout from the tragic Lakanal House fire in Camberwell, south London has resulted in media attention on the fire safety of high rise residential blocks up and down the country. The latest development is a report by BBC News which says that there are hundreds of such blocks in London which do not even have a fire risk assessment in place.
If this is the case it is very worrying. Until now, the received wisdom has been that it was small to medium enterprises that were most hard to reach in terms of education on their responsibilities under the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005, and this was highlighted in the first official review of the legislation. It beggars belief that local authorities or their housing bodies – who by definition are much closer to central government and especially the Communities and Local Government department – can have been so ignorant about their fire safety duties over the last three years.
Let us hope that at the very least, the tragedy at Lakanal House has thrown the spotlight on fire safety duties under the law, and that organisations and individuals will act to make their buildings safer.