In the statement released by the Chairman of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry on Wednesday 12th December, Sir Martin Moore-Bick revealed that “Given the scale of the preparations that have to be carried out, I think it is unlikely that it will be possible to start Phase 2 hearings before the end of next year”.
Sir Martin Moore-Bick explains Phase 2 and these preparations:
“Phase 2 involves examining in some detail the design and execution of a substantial building project that took over four years to complete, as well as a range of related matters. Like all such projects, it generated a huge number of documents. In one sense, that is good, because much of the story will be told by the documents themselves. But it also means that there are a very large number of them to be reviewed, redacted where necessary and digested.
In addition, the Inquiry will be examining the regulatory framework and the role of the relevant authorities in relation to it, as well as the response of various organs of central and local government to the disaster. Again, there will be a significant amount of material relating to these questions.
The Inquiry currently expects to disclose over 200,000 documents to the core participants. It is about to start doing so, but the exercise is currently not expected to be complete until the autumn of next year...
…The investigation must be thorough and the work to which I have referred inevitably takes time.”
BAFE Chief Executive, Stephen Adams, comments:
“Whilst we welcome the detailed way that the Review is considering the circumstances that led to the tragedy, we would hope that timetable can be accelerated both to bring closure for the Grenfell residents and also to take forward the necessary changes, both regulatory and practical, needed to protect the public in future. It is to be hoped that the changes being driven by the Hackitt Review will not be delayed by the main Enquiry.”
This echoes industry response, who would like action far quicker than anticipated. Jonathan O'Neill, OBE, Managing Director of the Fire Protection Association has also stated:
“The Fire Protection Association welcomes the thorough job being done by the Grenfell Inquiry, but we believe the latest timescale* is wholly unacceptable for the Grenfell residents, who need closure as soon as possible. We recommend additional resources are found, as a matter of urgency."
The Grenfell Tower Inquiry Chairman’s Statement can be read in full here:https://www.grenfelltowerinquiry.org.uk/sites/default/files/inline-files/Chairman%27s%20Statement%20121218.pdf