As I watch the news of the modern fire of London, I can’t help but feel a stabbing pain in my chest that this is the harsh reality of modern day developments.
I used to work in a small architecture and development firm before I moved to the operational side of construction, and a lot of the projects that came in were refurbishments and renovations.
Old office blocks being turned into apartments on the cheap. As our country has a huge housing shortage and more people living in or near the city rather than in our suburbs, these kind of projects are becoming more and more popular.
This scares me.
How much detail are our architects going into to ensure fire protection as they over clad hideous 60s office blocks with modern cladding systems?
Are they seeking the correct advice from fire engineers, departments and consultants?
Are contractors checking what is being installed is what has been specified and not a cheaper alternative?
We as a construction industry have a lot of thinking and actions to do as well as the government. This isn’t just about social housing, it is about all construction projects especially those of smaller development companies who fancy try their luck for a quick financial gain.
It angers me that the tragic event of London’s Grenfell Tower is what it takes to prick people’s ears up and do a check now of their buildings. These should have been done beforehand. We should always consider the safety of the end users before anything else.
These are our children, our brothers and sisters, our mothers and fathers, our grandparents, our childhood friends and our colleagues that live, work and play in these buildings.
I beg our government and the construction industry never to let this happen again. We as a nation and as an industry should know better and put our people first.
My heart and thoughts go out to all those involved; those who have lost loved ones; those who lost their homes and the firefighters who show immense bravery but should have never been put in this position.
I ask that anyone who can helps out these victims to some how start to rebuild their lives and homes. Whether it’s by donating money, clothes, food etc or just by showing support offering a helping hand like helping them move to temporary shelters, make them feel welcome in your community and support their families as they come to terms with such loss.
Once again we as a nation have to stick together and support each other through such a tragic event.