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 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. 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, summarised on our Fire Safety Act webpage, the government has brought in the Fire Safety (England) Regulations, which commenced on 23 January 2023, which we have also summarised.
The government has not yet brought forward regulations relating to the Inquiry’s recommendation that building owners and managers must provide Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans for residents who wouldn’t be able to evacuate independently in an emergency. The Home Office conducted a consultation on this topic in 2021, then on a distinct approach, known as Emergency Evacuation Information Sharing in 2022. The government has yet to publish its response to this consultation. You can read our response to the Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans consultation and to the Emergency Evacuation Information Sharing consultation.
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 pandemic.
Phase 2 hearings considered:
- 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.
The Inquiry’s Phase 2 report is due to be published later in 2023.
Find out more on the Grenfell Tower Inquiry website