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  • Tony Putsman

Are we learning from failure?

The consequences of the Grenfell fire are being felt around the UK both within the industry and beyond, particularly for the occupants of similarly-clad residential buildings.

The Mexico City Metro overpass collapse on 3rd May where 26 people died and seventy nine others were hospitalized, was just the most recent catastrophic construction disaster from other parts of the world, which only occasionally appear on our news channels.

Do we ever think "that couldn’t happen here"?

When I saw the fire in a high rise building in Dubai (unfortunately named The Torch ) in 2015, I didn’t think it was possible that UK construction standards would allow the same (or worse) to happen here.

The Toddbrook dam failure in Summer 2019 could, if emergency measures hadn’t been deployed quickly and effectively, have resulted in casualties which would have even dwarfed Grenfell, and could have devastated the town of Whaley Bridge.

The specifics of Grenfell, Mexico City and Toddbrook may differ, but are there underlying causes, typical of how building and infrastructure projects are delivered in our country in 2021, which are being ignored because "well, that’s just the way we do things in construction"....!?

The reputation of the industry has been harmed by the revelations coming out of the Grenfell enquiry; it is easy to blame the individuals involved, but were they acting so differently from clients, designers and contractors across the British Isles?

What are your thoughts?

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