Grenfell fire risk assessor who was paid £250k for his work urged council to bury his fire risk report

Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation wanted to hire a consultant willing to take on fire regulators

Kenza Bryan
Monday 03 July 2017 08:30 BST
A damaged facade of Grenfell tower following the catastrophe in north Kensington
A damaged facade of Grenfell tower following the catastrophe in north Kensington (Reuters)

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Louise Thomas

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A fire risk assessor who worked on Grenfell Tower reportedly suggested Kensington and Chelsea council could withhold a report detailing the building’s safety failings from the London Fire Brigade.

Fire consultant Carl Stokes was paid £244,318 over seven years as fire risk assessor for Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO), according to documents seen by Inside Housing.

And ​Mr Stokes advised the organisation that they did not have to disclose safety risks and risk being obliged to deploy expensive “additional fire safety measures”, the Mail on Sunday reported.

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A Fire Risk Assessment for Grenfell Tower submitted by Mr Stokes to KCTMO in November 2012 suggested burying the report because the London Fire Brigade “have the power to undertake an audit of the fire risk assessment to determine if it is suitable and sufficient or not.”

The safety failings outlined in the report include the failure to maintain or inspect escape staircases, fire extinguishers and emergency escape lighting.

“The fire extinguisher in the basement boiler room, the lift motor room, the ground-floor electrical room plus other areas were out of date, according to the contractor’s label on the extinguishers,” the report reads.

“Some located in the roof level areas [of Grenfell Tower] had “condemned” written on them in large black writing, with a last test date of 2009 or 2010.

“This seems to indicate that monthly occupier inspects are not being carried out."

KCTMO was paid £11 million by the council in 2016 to manage 10,000 homes in the borough, including Grenfell tower.

Documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday reveal that in 2010, KCTMO wanted to hire a consultant who was willing to take on fire regulators over their demands.

Mr Stokes was recommended to KCTMO directors by housing official Janice Wray as “willing to challenge the fire brigade on our behalf if he considered their [safety] requirements to be excessive.”

Mr Stokes is the director and sole shareholder of C S Stokes and Associates Ltd.

A spokesman for the company gave the following comment to Inside Housing, who first obtained the report: “CS Stokes and Associates Ltd is confident that its fire risk assessment work was carried out to the highest professional standards.

“Director Carl Stokes has 19 years’ fire safety experience with local Fire Authorities, in enforcement and auditing roles and eight years as an independent fire risk assessor and fully stands by the recommendations made in his risk assessments.”

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