In a country that used to be synonymous with the manufacture of quality products, it is shocking to listen to the debate over the causes of the Grenfell Tower fire. Whether the final outcome will rest heaviest on the quality of materials, how they were installed or a combination of both is yet to be seen.

Such stories sit uncomfortably with a nation that has a long history of manufacturing safe, reliable, quality products. ‘The long list’ of British-manufactured quality products doesn’t really exist anymore. Quality and safety costs. The Safer Structures Campaign was set up to give you a voice and take the issue to Government to change the way buildings are constructed and made safe for you.


In the Grenfell Tower disaster, Britain has just witnessed one of the most shocking failures in building safety and the likely cause is the UK’s current building procedure – be that what was specified, what was installed or how it was installed. What happened isn’t a random incident and, as subsequent product testing has revealed, it could happen again. Its repercussions are likely to be felt throughout the building product sector for years to come.


Government can no longer distance itself from vital market surveillrance – industry cannot and will not police itself subjectively product failures happen because of inadequate surveillance. British Standards, whether for cable or any other building product, need to be of the highest level. ‘Adequate’ is not sufficient. British Standards and installation practice must achieve the highest safety level – it is called ‘best practice’ for a reason. Now, more than ever, people need to be confident that new build and refurbishment projects will only use the best possible materials, installed by those best qualified to do so.


90% of fires occur inside buildings, where we spend on average 90% of our time. Today a fire can engulf a room in 3 minutes compared to 25 minutes 50 years ago, and this change has come about because of the increase of plastics in our homes. People escaping often have only a few minutes to leave a building safely before the development of smoke makes orientation increasingly difficult. This fact makes identifying escape and rescue routes impossible. Dense and corrosive fumes make the activity of rescue teams more difficult and dangerous.


The people of Britain have a right to live and work in safe buildings. What goes under our floors and into our walls in our homes is incredibly important for our safety. The UK is a key market for distributors of counterfeit and substandard electrical cable; it is already seen as an easy target in that there is a lack of enforcement to stop rogue importers. This one lapse of judgement means the UK is no closer to having a safer building environment and signing our petition is the best way to fix this problem.


For many years Britain’s once-thriving cable industry has fallen foul to substandard cable product – left to infiltrate the market and undercut the quality products that once made Britain great. Poor market surveillance has also taken its toll. Construction Products Regulation (CPR), an EU piece of legislation could be the UK cable industry’s saviour and be a template for how building products should be categorised and market surveillance implemented. Yet a lack of desire to embrace the principle of the CPR, monitor the market, enforce the CPR and apprehend those who abuse it will be its downfall.