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Grenfell advisory panel announced

Grenfell Tower 3x2

BRE boss Peter Bonfield is to play a key role in drawing up immediate measures to make tall buildings fire safe.

The chief executive of the Building Research Establishment – which is conducting tests on samples of cladding in the wake of the Grenfell Tower blaze – was named on an expert panel announced by ministers today.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid said the group of independent experts would look at urgent action required to make buildings fire safe as quickly as possible.

The panel will be chaired by former London Fire Commissioner Sir Ken Knight. He will be joined by Bonfield, chair of the National Fire Chiefs Council Roy Wilsher, and Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors president Amanda Clack.

A first meeting of the panel is expected to take place this week.

Javid said: “I want to know if there are measures we can put in place now to keep people safe and I want them done immediately. I want the public to be confident everything possible is being done.”

Bonfield said: “I look forward to working with Sir Ken and drawing in expertise which will help address the challenges faced. I know that the will to positively contribute from professional bodies and others is strong and we will deploy this to support our work.”

Javid yesterday said cladding from 75 high-rise buildings, across 26 local authority areas, had failed BRE combustibility tests.

“The combustibility test has three categories rated one to three, and it is judged that cladding material in category two or three does not meet the requirements for limited combustibility in the Building Regulations,” Javid said in Parliament.

“I can also confirm to the House that so far, on that basis, all samples of cladding tested have failed.”

Four tower blocks on the Chalcots Estate in Camden have been evacuated due to fire safety concerns, while cladding has been removed from Cygnet House and Wren House in Bootle, Merseyside.

“Test results have shown certain elements of the cladding on two of our high-rise blocks, Cygnet House and Wren House, while meeting Building Regulations, does not meet the latest Department for Communities & Local Government test criteria,” said social housing provider One Vision Housing.

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