Monday, July 22, 2019

Ontario building inspectors: London fire will affect enforcement of safety codes

ontario building

London’s Grenfell Tower fire is a tragic incident that is bound to affect how safety codes are enforced in Ontario, one building inspector says.

“It’s sickening [and] saddening, obviously, any time there is a loss of life, but when you are close to the professions that oversee and regulate these types of buildings, it hits you even a little bit harder,” said Matt Farrell, an engineering technologist and building inspector with the Ontario Building Officials Association.

“Unfortunately, when there is any catastrophic loss like that, it is also used as a learning experience, and there are going to be changes to the way we administer our duties,” Mr. Farrell said, adding that any changes will be gradual and dependent on what British investigators determine to be the cause and aggregating factors of the fatal fire.

The vertical inferno broke out in the early hours of Wednesday. The cause is still under investigation.

The 24-storey apartment building, in an area of London known as North Kensington, is now a recovery site. At least 30 people are confirmed dead, and more than 70 others are still missing. British officials are cautioning that no more survivors will be found and that some remains may never be identified.

Some estimates say as many as 600 people were living in Grenfell Tower.

A criminal investigation has been launched into the incident, as questions mount about what role the installation of new cladding played in the fire, which rapidly engulfed the building’s 120 units.

The Guardian newspaper reported that when the building was renovated in 2016, a cheaper form of aluminum composite cladding was used that did not contain fire-resistant material. It also reported that there are no building rules in the U.K. requiring the use of fire-retardant material in cladding for tower blocks and schools.

Keep reading in The Globe and Mail

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