Following the announcement that Rt Hon Savid Javid MP is stepping into the Home Secretary role, recently vacated following the resignation of Amber Rudd MP, James Brokenshire MP has been appointed Secretary of State for Housing. In his welcome letter Iain McIllwee has again reiterated advice previously issued to Sajid Javid MP related to a lack of activity and querying comments that there is not a systemic issue and people should not be concerned in relation to fire doors.
Sajid Javid MP has responded to the initial letter suggesting BWF meets with Dominic Raab MP to explain concerns and to explore in more detail the possible introdution of a Buliding Safety Fund to speed up much needed renovation work, BWF is currently awaiting dates from Mr Raab's office. The letter to James Brokenshire was also copied to Lord Stunnell who this week made the following statement in the House of Lords consistent with our call for a Building Safety Fund:
"My Lords, I remind the House that I served as Minister with responsibility for building regulations between 2010 and 2012. Whatever controversy there may be about the adequacy of the fire tests, they have shown that more than 300 blocks need amending. According to the department’s own figures, 297 blocks have still not been repaired. Something like 7,000 families are stuck in them, facing not just the risk of fire but the reality of higher heating bills because of damp and condensation. None of those families brought this on themselves. Will the Government now agree to fund a “pay now, recover later” scheme so that there is no more delay in getting on with this process?"
The BWF has also written to Mr Kevin Stewart MSP Minister for Local Government & Housing who noted in his letter to Bob Doris MSP, Convener Local Government and Communities Committee:
"The Committee may also be aware of the recent media coverage around fire doors from Grenfell Tower being fire tested. Following advice from the UK expert panel a programme of fire testing additional doors is being developed but at this time there is no evidence to
suggest a systemic issue. I want to reassure the Committee that the Ministerial Working Group is in close contact with the UK Government regarding this matter and should further information emerge we will be ready to act. For now however, we have written to Local Authorities and housing providers to alert them of the issue and advise them to check records for any purchases of fire doors that may have made from the manufacturer in question. I have also written to the manufacturer and the UK Government requesting that they share any information regarding the sale of these doors in Scotland".
In his letter Iain McIlwee drew on evidence from both the Fire Door Inspection Scheme and Fire Door Safety Week to question the assertion that there is not a systemic issue and to urge for more action to understand and rectify the situation.
Both letters can be viewed here:
Letter to Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP on Fire Door Safety and a Building Safety Fund
The results for the Hackitt Review are anticipated in mid to late May, you can see BWF comments in the interim report here