High-rise towers are safe but tougher inspections needed, say experts

By Oliver Wainwright

Architects and surveyors say shoddy workmanship and lack of enforcement of architects' specifications are concerns

Could the Grenfell Tower fire be a watershed moment marking an end to high-rise living? Just as the collapse of the Ronan Point Tower in Newham, east London, in the 1960s led to the end of system-built concrete construction and stigmatised tower blocks for decades, might the inferno in this Kensington landmark put the brakes on some of the 450 new towers currently planned or under construction in the capital?

Architects, engineers and fire consultants insist high-rise towers remain safe – if they have been properly designed and built. Paul Karakusevic, who is working with David Chipperfield on a pair of residential towers for Hackney council, built with a concrete frame clad in non-combustable brick, said: “If towers are made with solid, robust and durable materials, and properly compartmentalised with fire doors and fitted with sprinklers, then they've got a long life ahead of them.”

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Source: High-rise towers are safe but tougher inspections needed, say experts