Grenfell Tower fire

Frustrations over Grenfell-style cladding replacement delay

Caroline Davies

BBC London News

Getty Images

Before the coronavirus pandemic - ministers told those living in tower blocks with Grenfell-style cladding that it would be replaced by June this year.

But, due to the lockdown, it's pretty clear that's not going to happen.

Now, the ambition is to get it done by sometime next year, three years after 72 people died in the tower block fire on 14 June 2017.

Rebecca Smith, who moved into a flat in Bromley by Bow, Tower Hamlets, in 2016 says she feels uncomfortable and claustrophobic in her own home after discovering the cladding surrounding her building was unsafe.

"There are issues with the cavity barriers behind the cladding. There are also issues with the material used on the balconies.

"It sounds like it's not going to be a quick or easy fix.

"All of my life savings and my parents life savings are tied up in this flat.

"It plays on your mind a lot and I feel quite claustrophobic and lost.

"I don't know how safe I am in my own home - which is horrible."

Ms Smith
Rebecca Smith

Ms Smith said at this point in time, nobody has excepted fault for the claim and she remains in limbo.

"Our correspondence with officials has been that coronavirus has had an impact and has slowed things down."

City Hall said that £208m has been approved by The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to help repair 65 London buildings.

As of 30 March, £90,927,547 has been disbursed, it added.

"By May, 57 private buildings in London were n the process of applying for funding and £22.8m has been awarded to 19 London buildings," a spokesman said.

Unsafe cladding to be replaced despite Covid-19

Essential safety work to replace unsafe cladding on high-rise buildings will continue during the Covid-19 emergency, the Housing Secretary has said.

Grenfell Tower, west London
PA Media

Robert Jenrick, along with the mayors of London, Greater Manchester, Sheffield City Region, Liverpool City Region and the West Midlands, have pledged their support to ensure vital safety work can continue as long as social distancing rules are being followed.

It comes after the Government announced a new £1billion fund to pay for the removal and replacement of unsafe cladding for high-rise buildings earlier this year following the Grenfell tragedy.

A total of 72 people died after Grenfell Tower, in north Kensington, west London, caught fire in June 2017.

Last month the G15, made up of London's largest housing associations, identified over 2,000 buildings needing to be rectified in the capital alone.

The Government has updated guidance on how to apply social distancing in the workplace for construction workers which was reviewed by Public Health England and the Health and Safety Executive.

It includes having decontamination areas on site and enabling workers to hose-down overalls before safe disposal, providing additional toilet and washing facilities, reducing the number of workers gathering together and splitting up work teams to minimise the risk of infection.

Peter John OBE, chairman of London Councils, added: "We cannot allow the unprecedented challenge that we have all faced with Covid-19 as an excuse to forget the challenge of making our buildings fire-safe across London and the UK."

Grenfell tower wrapping replacement work paused

Grenfell tower
Getty Images

Work to replace the wrapping around Grenfell Tower is to be paused due to concerns about coronavirus, the government has announced.

In February, workers had begun changing the wrapping which has covered the block since the 2017 fire which killed 72 people.

In a statement, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said the work had been "paused to avoid staff going on-site or using public transport".

It added that re-wrapping had "progressed well" since it started while "the remaining ‘older’ wrapping on the lower floors is in good condition".

"We do not believe pausing the re-wrapping is a cause for concern, but the team is happy to take any questions you might have," the department said.

Grenfell Week Two: The architects felt misled

Grenfell cladding was "horse meat" masquerading as "beef lasagne"
Giving evidence for a second week, architect Neil Crawford said he felt misled about the materials used on Grenfell Tower.