Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Questions (36)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

36. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he is updating the current regulations on the fire safety aspects of new high-rise buildings further to the Grenfell fire in London; and the way in which the Dublin and other fire brigades are being resourced to fight fires in high-rise buildings. [45138/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Grenfell Tower tragedy took place on 14 June 2017 and I established a Fire Safety Task Force to examine fire safety in Ireland, and in particular the risk of a similar tragedy happening here, on 27 June. The Report of the Task Force which is available on my Department's website, was brought to Government in May 2018.

Overall, the Report, which included a review of fire safety in 839 buildings over 6 storeys, found that the combination of factors that contributed to the Grenfell Tower fire do not seem to be present in Ireland and that the current fire safety strategy in Ireland, which includes evacuation, is appropriate and effective in protecting people living in medium to high-rise buildings.

The Report did, however, make a range of recommendations for improvements in relation to fire safety and work is underway in terms of: regulatory provisions; fire service operations and fire safety, particularly around fire detection and alarm systems.

I have now asked my Department to review the Report on Phase 1 of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, which was recently published and to bring forward any additional recommendations as appropriate.

In relation to Building Regulations, work has been on-going to review “Part B: Fire Safety - Volume 2” and a new Technical Guidance Document came into force on 1 July 2017. A revised Volume 1, is being prepared for public consultation at present.

In terms of equipment, this is generally a matter for fire authorities based on their assessment of fire risk and requirements. However, to support authorities in procuring specialist equipment, as part of my Department's capital programme, Dublin Fire Service has recently received approval to purchase a 42-metre Turn Table Ladder (TTL) and Cork City Fire Service has been approved to purchase a 32-metre Hydraulic Platform.