There are now calls for a public inquiry into the design and use of materials in such buildings after it emerged that the refurbishment work completed in 2016 satisfied all building control and safety regulations.
"I regularly sit in meetings with fire safety professionals, and their fury and frustration at the inaction of local councils and social landlords is palpable. We have been warning about the risks of a fire like this for years," said Hannah Mansell, who chairs the Passive Fire Protection Forum.
"There is an endemic fire safety problem in this type of housing stock," she said.
However, the contractor that carried out the refurbishment of the building said that all the works conformed to current safety and regulatory conditions.
"Rydon completed a refurbishment of the building in the summer of 2016 for Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organization (KCTMO) on behalf of the Council, which met all required building control, fire regulation and health & safety standards," the company said in a statement.
Everyone at Rydon is shocked & saddened after the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower. Here is our full statement https://t.co/pD1NcZAmWU— Rydon (@RydonGroup) June 14, 2017
Residents of Grenfell Tower had been complaining about poor fire safety for years, citing no sprinkler system no common fire alarm.
"We are aware that concerns have been raised historically by residents. We always take all concerns seriously and these will form part of our forthcoming investigations," KCTMO said.
It follows another similar fire, 2009, in Lakanal House, south London, which resulted in the local authority being fined US$344,000 plus costs. Residents has criticized the layout of the flats, which did not provide easy egress in case of an emergency. The flats also lacked a central fire alarm system, which was not required by virtue of the current guidance.
"I am sure after this incident a public inquiry of the sort we did not have after the Lakanal fire should be considered. The Lakanal House report wasn't a public inquiry; it was a coroner's court. However, something like this will have to force people to come out and be challenged," said Ronnie King, of the All-Party Parliamentary Fire Safety & Rescue Group and Vice Chairman of the National Fire Sprinkler Network.
"One thing that has to come out of this is that regulations have to be reviewed — they cannot ignore this now," he said.