Lessons not learned: How did we arrive at the need for the Hackitt Review?

by Ian Laurie, Director

Originally published by Henry Stewart Publications

The term ‘unprecedented’ is often wrongly used in respect of catastrophic events, and while the Grenfell disaster has highlighted significant shortcomings in both our regulation and construction regimes, sadly history tells us that far from being unprecedented, this was a disaster not only waiting to happen, but which has been repeated at intervals throughout history. From the Great Fire of London to the Woolworths Manchester fire, the drivers behind Grenfell are well-known — cost pressures, lack of expertise and ineffective legislation all playing their part, as stated in the Hackitt Review. What is perhaps unprecedented is the extent to which Grenfell has highlighted what can only be described as endemic failings in our modern construction practises that show we have not simply forgotten the lessons history should have taught us, but have knowingly disregarded them. Before looking at the recommendations of the Hackitt enquiry and the proposed changes to the construction industry, this paper will look at the history of fire safety and the lessons that we were already taught, asking ourselves: ‘How did we end up at Grenfell?’

The full article can be read here.

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