Grenfell - First phase enquiry completed

Published: 12 Nov 2019

Grenfell – Review of inquiry first phase report

The first phase of the Grenfell inquiry has been completed and Sir Martin Moore-Bick’s report recently released.  The first phase of the inquiry into the Grenfell fire primarily reviews how the fire started, spread and became a disaster.  Here we provide a round-up of his key conclusions from the report.

  1. Behailu Kebede first discovered the fire when awoken by his smoke alarm in flat 16.  Upon seeing is was a probable electric fire he turned off his electricity, called for help and alerted neighbours. This would normally have been enough had each flat been compartmented as there would have been minimal chance of the fire spreading.
  2. It was determined that the most likely escape of the fire from the flat was through the uPVC window where heat and flames entered the cavity between the insulation and aluminium composite material (ACL).  Fire officers blasted the fire but to no avail and it became clear that the fire was spreading up the building.  The fire had spread to the top of the building in less than 30 minutes.
  3. The report concludes that the building “suffered a total failure of compartmentation”.  There is evidence of a number of key active and passive fire protection measures that failed to operate as “effectively as could reasonably have been expected” the report states.  This will be reviewed in phase two of the inquiry.
  4. Sir Martin’s report advises that the stay put policy should have been abandoned sooner and had it done so it is possible more lives may have been saved.


Summary of Sir Martin’s Recommendations from Phase 1 of the inquiry:

  • Owners/managers of every high-rise residential building be required by law to provide their local fire and rescue service of details of the buildings external walls and details of the materials;
  • Owners/managers be required by law to provide their local fire and rescue service with up-to-date plans of every floor of the building identifying the location of key fire safety systems;
  • Owners/managers of every high-rise residential building be required to carry out regular inspections on lifts that are designed to be used by firefighters and the mechanism which allows fire fighters to take control of them. Information to be provided to local fire and rescue on a monthly basis.
  • That government develop national guidelines for carrying out partial or total evacuations of high-rise residential buildings.
  • Owners/managers of every high-rise residential building be required by law to draw up and keep under regular review evacuation plans.
  • That owners/managers of every high-rise residential building be equipped with a facility to enable fire and rescue services to send an evacuation signal to the whole or selected parts of a building.  This would be by means of a sounder or similar device.
  • That owners/managers be required by law to prepare PEEPs for all residents whose ability to self-evacuate may be compromised.
  • That all high-rise buildings floor numbers be clearly marked on each floor in such a way as to be visible in both normal and smoky conditions.
  • Owners/managers of every separate residential building with separate dwellings carry out an inspection of all fire doors to ensure they comply with legislative standards. Recommended that it become required by law that checks on fire doors should be carried at least every 3 months in residential buildings containing separate dwellings.

The second phase of the inquiry is expected to start early next year and it is advised that this will focus on; The choice of materials, material testing and adequacy of building regulations.

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