Apartments and offices sitting next to a body of water


  • Seven years have passed since the tragic night when Grenfell Tower was engulfed in flames, leaving an indelible scar on our collective conscience. Today, as we remember the 72 lives lost, The Property Institute (TPI) stands in solidarity with the survivors and the Grenfell community, who continue to seek justice, and  we urge the next Government to get on with remediating unsafe buildings. 

    The Grenfell Tower fire was a preventable disaster – the consequence of a series of systemic failures and regulatory oversights. Combustible cladding, inadequate fire doors, and a dangerously flawed stay-put policy turned the tower into a death trap. The aftermath revealed the urgent need for comprehensive safety measures. Seven years on, we have a new regulatory regime, but there remain many challenges ahead to ensuring buildings – and more importantly, residents - are safe. 

    Read the full statement from The Property Institute here 

  • The final Grenfell Tower Inquiry report will be published on 4 September, it has been announced, following hearings to determine how the Kensington tower block came to be in a condition that allowed fire to spread.

    The second report into the 2017 disaster, which claimed 72 lives, comes after a seven-year long inquiry which examined 1,500 witness statements and 300,000 documents.

    A brief notice on the inquiry website said: “The inquiry has written to core participants to inform them that the phase two report will be published on Wednesday 4 September 2024.

    ”Further information about the arrangements for publication will be published in due course.”

    The report follows the final hearing in the inquiry’s second phase, which examined how the tower block came to be in a condition that allowed fire to spread, in November 2022. The first report into the inquiry, which established a factual narrative of events, was published in October 2019.

    The report comes a day after the Metropolitan Police said a total of 19 firms or organisations and 58 individuals are currently under investigation in relation to the disaster, by a team of 180 dedicated officers and staff.

    It said criminal trials for the Grenfell Tower fire will not begin until 2027.

    • Building Safety Act
  • Today (29 March 2024), the government has updated its guidance calling for second staircases in all new tall residential buildings over 18 metres from 30th September 2026 – further enhancing the UK’s world-leading building safety standards.

    The change in guidance adds to a package of recent fire safety measures and reforms including the Building Safety Act which ensure the safety of people in both new and existing tall buildings.

    Existing tall buildings are also being considered as part of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry’s recommendations. The Home Office is currently considering responses to their consultation on personal emergency evacuation plans, to which a response will be published in due course. 

    Lee Rowley, Minister for Housing, said: 

    "The change in guidance to include two staircases for buildings over 18 metres provides clarity for developers and ensures both new and existing buildings provide safe and secure homes for all residents."
    Following a public consultation, the government announced last year its intent to set a threshold height of 18 metres above which a second staircase should be provided in residential buildings – a change which reflects views of experts including the National Fire Chiefs Council and Royal Institute of British Architects.

    This was followed in October by confirmation of transitional arrangements which set the timeframe for the new regulations and strike a fair balance between giving developers enough time to make the required changes, while also evolving our safety standards as swiftly as possible.

    The transition period also provides clarity for developers during a difficult economic climate and projects previously held up at the planning stage can now go ahead with certainty.

    • Fire Safety
  • The chair of a cross-party committee of MPs has written to the Housing Minister to request an update on the government’s assessment of risk from Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) in residential buildings.

    In his letter, Clive Betts, chair of the levelling up, housing and communities committee, asked Lee Rowley what the department’s current assessment of RAAC risk is in both residential and non-domestic buildings.

    This was one of several questions, including a request for details of the latets gudiance to local authorities, information about the funding avaulable for RAA risk mitigation and for an update on what the government is doing to identiy and mitigate risks.

    Betts said that given the “urgency of these matters” he would like a response before parliment’s recess on Tuesday.

    Betts said: “There are well-publicised concerns about the use of RAAC in public buildings such as schools and hospitals but there is also concern about the use of RAAC in housing.

    “It’s important the government spells out its assessment of the risk in residential buildings, in social housing and local authorities’ estates and what guidance it is giving to residents and landlords on the risk of RAAC.”

    Read more on Housing Today

    • Structural Safety
    • RAAC
  • RAAC Industry Response Group Formed

    The extent to which Reinforced Autoclaved Aerated Concrete (RAAC) is present in residential buildings and the risk levels presented is currently unclear, and we appreciate that media coverage, conflicting reports and misinformation may be leading to questions and concerns from clients and residents alike. RAAC is a form of lightweight concrete sometimes referred to as panels. It was used primarily in roof planks of some public buildings built between the mid-1950s and mid-1990s.

    The Construction Leadership Council (CLC) in conjunction with the Cabinet Office and other government departments have set up the RAAC Industry Response Group. The group met up for the first time on Thursday 7th September) and over the coming weeks will investigating scale and risks and developing further guidance. The Property Institute and our sector is represented on the group by Mark Snelling, our health, safety and fire consultant.

    Whilst further investigation is carried out into the scale and risks, and guidance for the residential sector is developed, The Property Institute is engaging with technical colleagues and industry peers to help shape guidance specifically for managing agents, landlords and residents, which we will share with you as soon as any is available, particularly in relation to high-rise buildings and the Building Safety Act 2022.

    Please ensure that, if you are undertaking any investigate or survey work, you seek advice to ensure that such costs incurred are reasonable and proportionate.

    Read the press release from the CLC here

    • Structural Safety
    • RAAC