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Sadiq Khan calls for government to widen fire safety regulations

London mayor Sadiq Khan has called on the government to better plan for building fire risks, including on those below 18 m.

At a London Assembly meeting, Mr Khan pointed to examples like Monday’s Worcester Park fire, at a block of flats which was destroyed but did not contain ACM cladding.

The mayor pointed out that both this and the block destroyed in June’s Barking fire were not covered by government safety measures put in place since the Grenfell Tower fire, which mainly focus on an 18 m height threshold.

He said: “Can you imagine if it were a care home – in the middle of the night can you imagine evacuating a care home at that sort of speed?”

Labour assembly member Len Duvall suggested that beyond the “Grenfell list” of at-risk buildings, there should be a much wider set of buildings considered at risk of fire due to their design and materials.

Mr Khan said: “We simply cannot answer how many buildings are safe or unsafe, we can’t answer what happens to those buildings if there’s a fire. Put aside ACM cladding, put aside 18 m. Even buildings without ACM and less than 18 m, hand on heart no one can say they’re safe.”

The mayor said that he had spoken with housing secretary Robert Jenrick the day after the Worcester Park fire and said the minister had agreed to take steps to address the issue of buildings not covered by the current regulations such as care homes and schools. He added: “I think we can start to make some progress, but watch this space.”

Mr Khan concluded: “What would be sensible would be if the government were to remediate and repair those buildings that need making safe and later on it can get the money back from the building owners.”

Construction News has approached the MHCLG for a response.

A CN investigation earlier this year highlighted how hotels and stadiums both fall outside of the government’s combustible materials ban, and questioned whether a focus on the residential sector had overlooked risks elsewhere.

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