Fire safety firms win surge of deals to stop another Grenfell Tower tragedy

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The Grenfell Tower tragedy has seen local authorities and other public bodies award more than £1.87 billion in fire safety contracts or potential deals to companies as they belatedly try to catch up on making buildings safer.

On the second anniversary of the tragic blaze which killed 72 people, figures compiled for the Evening Standard showed specialist safety firms have been awarded actual contracts worth £172 million and put on framework agreements — which can be used in the coming years — worth £1.7 billion.

Data collated by Tussell, the data provider on UK government contracts, shows the tragic blaze has triggered a major upsurge in spending on fire prevention by local government, housing associations and other state bodies. Yet news of the awards came amid widespread consternation that 221 high-rise buildings in England still have the same cladding as the aluminium composite material used at Grenfell. Most are privately owned, but social housing and public buildings are also among them.

Tussell chief executive Gus Tugendhat said: “The Grenfell tragedy was a wake-up call for the Government to act on fire safety. The figures show that a lot has been done since then — especially in local government. But the number of vulnerable buildings still to be secured shows that fire safety is still a pressing issue.”

Companies have been awarded 465 contracts since Grenfell to improve fire safety — up 45% on the two years preceding the tragedy. Local government awarded 200 of them worth £58 million — doubling the usual number.

Contracts have been spread among suppliers fairly evenly, the data showed, although international fire safety group Harmony Fire, which has been awarded 14 contracts, got the most, and east London-based construction group RG Carter won the biggest share by value at £8 million.

More contracts will follow as eight fire-safety frameworks have been created since the blaze including one for £1.4 billion created by LHC Building Components, a local government framework manager.

The data revealed the Grenfell Tower inquiry has cost £8 million in contracts to private companies so far, including more than £3 million on legal services and £1 million on media. KPMG was dropped as an adviser when the Standard revealed it had earned millions from businesses being examined.

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June 14, 2019 |
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