Mitigating the risk of infrastructure failure: A review of professional practice in the light of the Grenfell tower tragedy - request for submissions from ICE members

ICE is inviting submissions from members to inform a review of issues for infrastructure professionals highlighted by the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Professor Peter Hansford will lead a review to identify any immediate action to be taken by the civil engineering and infrastructure community
Professor Peter Hansford will lead a review to identify any immediate action to be taken by the civil engineering and infrastructure community

The Grenfell Tower tragedy has quite rightly led to period of introspection amongst engineering and construction professionals. A public inquiry is underway and the Institution has offered its support to the government for this exercise.

What is the purpose of this review?

Professor Peter Hansford has been appointed by ICE President, Professor Tim Broyd, to lead a review to identify any immediate action to improve public safety that should be taken by the civil engineering and infrastructure community in light of the tragedy. Peter has been asked to deliver an interim report by the end of October 2017.

This review is wholly separate to the public inquiry into the Grenfell tragedy. It will not duplicate the public inquiry into the specific details of the failings at Grenfell Tower or touch on matters that may be subject to criminal investigation.

Rather, Peter’s review will seek to identify and address systemic issues highlighted by failings at Grenfell that may possibly increase the risk of a serious failure of infrastructure assets in the UK.

What will this review produce?

The output of the interim report will be a series of recommendations to improve public safety that can be actioned in the immediate or short term while we await the outcome of the public inquiry. The tight timeframe reflects this objective. The primary audience will therefore be engineering and construction professionals. The review may however also make recommendations to government where action is needed to enable near-term change.

Conclusions and recommendations will be re-reviewed after the completion of the public inquiry to ensure that all necessary lessons for professionals have been identified and acted upon.

Consultation with ICE members – Request for Submissions

The review would like to draw on the knowledge and experience of ICE members and expert groups. Submissions of a maximum of 3000 words are invited on lessons from:

  • Recent failures or near misses of infrastructure assets or systems;
  • Practices that have been effective in improving the quality, structural integrity and operational safety of infrastructure assets and systems; and,
  • Lessons from other sectors

Any information provided will be treated as in confidence and non-attributable.

Submissions should be sent to structures@ice.org.uk. The deadline for submissions is 31 August 2017.

Further information

Issues that the review has already identified as of interest are:

  • Competency and capability within owners, clients and all tiers of the supply chain to manage the safety and structural integrity of infrastructure assets.
  • Clarity of responsibility and accountability for safety at all stages of the asset lifecycle
  • Inspection and quality assurance regimes during and following construction, operational management and in-service modification, refurbishment and re-fit of assets
  • The effectiveness of existing regulations, guidance and codes of practice
  • Assessment and management of system related risks
  • The effectiveness of industry efforts to understand and apply lessons from failures and early warnings
  • The impact of procurement practice, commercial arrangements and changes to professional roles & culture on all of the above
  • Lessons from improvements in recent decades of onsite safety and their application to improving functional safety and integrity of assets.

Find out more

If you would like to discuss please contact Adam Kirkup on 020 7665 2262.

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