‘Urgent’ action needed in Wales

16 November 2018

An assembly investigation in Wales, held due to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, found that fire risk assessors are required to have little to no training.

Assembly Members heard evidence of a high-rise block in Wales where the concern was a “large risk to life.”

The final report called for new Welsh law to include minimum requirements on fire risk assessors and to bring front doors of flats within the responsibility of the fire and rescue services.

Investigations found that building plans often do not reflect what is finally built, in part due to the inspection regime.

The Welsh Government, the AMs said, should change the law so only councils can act as the regulator for high rise buildings seven storeys or higher.

The current law, according to the report, does not place "any requirements on the competence or qualifications of a person undertaking a fire risk assessment".

John Griffiths, chairman of the equality, local government and communities committee, which examine fire-safety issues facing privately owned high-rise blocks, commented that, "People need to feel safe in their homes and that the building and the fittings, particularly in high rise blocks, are of the highest standard."

"It has been more than a year since the terrible tragedy of Grenfell and the repercussions are still being felt across the country,"

A Welsh government spokesman said it had set up an expert group to recommend how to redesign its approach to building safety, and it will be asked to look at the committee's recommendations.

"Across housing, the safety of Welsh tenants and residents is our number one priority," he said.

"We continue to work closely with our partners including landlords, owners and managing agents, the Welsh Fire and Rescue Services and local authorities to ensure specific issues are addressed."

The Welsh government said the safety of residents was their “number one priority.”