The Grenfell Tower Inquiry

The Grenfell Tower Inquiry was set up to examine the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017. The public inquiry was formally set up on 15 August 2017.

The inquiry is separated into two phases and is chaired by Sir Martin Moore-Bick, a retired judge of the Court of Appeal of England and Wales. 

Phase 1

Phase 1 of the inquiry began on 21 May 2018 and concluded on 12 December the same year. This phase looked at the events on the night of the fire.

The inquiry published its phase 1 report on 30 October 2019, drawing a number of conclusions and making a series of recommendations for building owners.

In particular, it concluded that:

  • The flames spread rapidly due to the presence of ACM panels with polyethylene cores.
  • That there is evidence to suggest that the external wall system used on Grenfell Tower was not compliant with building regulations.

The recommendations relate to:

  • Specific safety checks of buildings and equipment within buildings, such as lifts.
  • The provision of information to residents and local fire and rescue services.
  • Reviewing and maintaining fire safety mechanisms, evacuation procedures and ensuring the compliance of fire doors.

Following the publication of the phase one report, we produced a member briefing summarising the findings and the implications these are likely to have for our members.

Since then, the government has been implementing a programme of regulatory change that takes account of the inquiry’s recommendations. As well as changes to the Fire Safety Order 2005, the government is likely to bring in further regulations later in 2021, following a consultation on fire safety in 2020 and a consultation in 2021 on a requirement for Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans for people who can’t evacuate independently.

You can see the NHF’s responses to the consulations on our website:

Phase 2

Phase 2 of the inquiry is examining the cause of the fire, including how Grenfell Tower came to be in a condition that allowed the fire to spread in the way identified in phase one.

Phase 2 began on 27 January 2020. Hearings were temporarily suspended for periods of time during 2020 and 2021 due to the restrictions in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The phase 1 report confirmed that further investigation would be needed in phase 2 on:

  • The decisions that led to the installation of a highly combustible cladding system on a high-rise residential building, and the wider background against which they were taken.
  • The evidence relating to the circumstances in which people in the building died.
  • The warnings given by the local community about potential fire hazards.
  • The rigour and enforcement of the testing regime for construction materials and cladding systems.
  • The design and choice of materials used on the building, including an examination of building regulations and supporting guidance.
  • Whether fire doors in the building were compliant.
  • Whether specific fire safety mechanisms in the building worked as intended.

Monitoring and engaging with the inquiry

We have met the inquiry team to offer information and support as appropriate.

We will continue to monitor the progress of the inquiry, to understand what the implications of its findings will be for the housing association sector and how we can support our members to deliver on the recommendations.

Further information

Who to speak to

Victoria Moffett, Head of Building and Fire Safety Programmes