Liberal Democrats

F21: Safe Building Standards for all Homes

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Summary:

This motion expresses the party's deep regret at the appalling Grenfell Tower fire.

It calls for the public inquiry to be full and as swift as possible, and commits Lib Dems to implementing quickly any recommendations it makes. It then goes on to call for a number of fire safety measures to be implemented immediately in all social or privately rented homes, including annual fire checks for all tall buildings, and having fire drill evacuation practices for very tall buildings.

It calls for a new requirement for electrical safety tests in all rented homes.

It finishes up with demands for a complete review of building regulations especially in relation to cladding and sprinklers, and a review of council emergency arrangements.

Full text of the motion:

Conference expresses deep regret at the loss of life, injuries and trauma caused by the fire at Grenfell Tower in Kensington and stands with residents, friends, family members and the local community and organisations in grieving this tragedy.

Conference believes that:

  1. The tragedy is the result of a long-term failure of successive governments over four decades to invest in social housing, in both the quality and number of homes.
  2. All residents in Britain, be they tenants of private landlords, tenants of public sector landlords, leaseholders or owner occupiers have the right to live in homes that are safe, warm, appropriate to their needs and set in well run, safe, green and clean neighbourhoods.
  3. The Government should ensure that the public inquiry into the immediate causes of the tragedy is properly resourced and concluded as swiftly as possible subject to sufficient time being given for a thorough examination of the issues.
  4. Liberal Democrat MPs, Peers and councillors should press for the conclusions of the public inquiry to be implemented rapidly and without equivocation on the publication of its findings or any interim findings.

In the meantime, Conference calls for:

  1. Residents in social or private rented homes to be comprehensively listened to when there are issues of concern over the quality of their housing, through clear channels of accountability and a means of redress when action is not taken.
  2. Sufficient funding from central Government to ensure all homes are brought up to safe standards.
  3. All blocks over four stories to have annual fire checks by persons on a professional register who meet the competency criteria established by the Fire Risk Assessment Competency Council with mandatory actions on private and public landlords, owners, freehold owners and managing agents stemming from such checks.
  4. Central government to now comply with the recommendations of the Coroner who investigated the Lakanal tower block fire in 2013, and provide clearer guidance on the extent to which fire safety regulations apply to residential blocks.
  5. All blocks over ten stories to have a fire evacuation drill practices at a time of peak occupancy by the end of June 2018.
  6. Compulsory electrical safety tests in all rented homes in both the social rented and private rented sectors.
  7. A review of the emergency planning procedures for all councils to ensure there is clarity over how incidents will be dealt with and where responsibility lies.
  8. A complete review of the content and implementation of building regulations, including provisions for:
    1. The use of sprinklers and cladding in tower blocks.
    2. The ability of local councils to check details of development prior to building and during building or renovation.
    3. The ability to update building regulations as new products, processes and techniques become available.
    4. The ability of building regulations to be used to enforce changes where necessary in buildings based on updated knowledge of new products, processes and techniques.

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