Vast bulk of social housing deliberately excluded from Fire Safety Review

The fire safety review announced by Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster deliberately excludes social housing where fire risks are most serious, according to Social Democrats Cllr Cian O’Callaghan.

Cllr O’Callaghan said the scope of the ongoing review is excessively narrow, focusing only on multi-storey buildings of five storeys or more and ignoring timber frame developments which should be a core part of the analysis.

Cllr O’Callaghan said:

“The vast majority of social housing is not included in the fire safety review, which focuses on multi-storey buildings. These are defined in the Local Government Multi Storey Buildings Act 1988 as five storeys or more.

“In reality, we only have local authority housing developments of five storeys and more in major urban areas. This means that the review deliberately excludes the vast bulk of social housing including multi-unit three and four storey developments.

“Serious fire safety defects have come to light in the past year in social housing in three and four storey timber frame developments. However similar developments are excluded from this review which looks only at buildings of five storeys or more which do not have timber frames.”

Cllr O’Callaghan added:

“The fire safety review which focuses on fire alarms, fire extinguishers, fire escapes and emergency lighting does not include a review of structural defects and non-compliance with the Fire Safety Building Regulations.

“Given that serious fire safety defects including deficiencies in fire proofing and fire separation have emerged in social housing stock in timber frame developments, this should also form a core part of the review.

Cllr O’Callaghan said the fire safety review must include:

  • Multi-unit developments and 3 & 4 storey developments with communal areas which have a higher fire risk.
  • Structural fire safety defects, including non-compliance with the Fire Safety Building Regulations.