Grenfell - learning from catastrophe

This meeting discussed what lessons charity facilities managers can learn from the Grenfell Tower fire.

A fire extinguisher.

The Grenfell disaster highlighted the importance of fire safety measures.

72 people were killed in the fire at Grenfell Tower in Notting Dale, West London, in the early hours of 14 June 2017. 

The tower was built in the 1970s. Rydon Construction completed a refurbishment project in May 2016. This involved installing new exterior cladding, replacement windows and a communal heating system.

The reasons for the horrific death toll are being investigated by the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, an independent public inquiry which has been set up to examine the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the fire. The Inquiry is expected to look at issues such as the materials used in the building's refurbishment, the management of the refurbishment works, day-to-day fire safety management, fire safety equipment, means of escape, and evacuation advice given to residents. 

The final report of the Inquiry may not be issued until 2020.

In the mean time, the events of 14 June have raised many concerns for people looking after fire safety in buildings.


This meeting will review some of the questions and worries for charity facilities managers in the wake of Grenfell.

About the speakers

We will be welcoming two Partners from the top 100 law firm Russell-Cooke LLP:

Kizzy Augustin, PartnerRussell-Cooke LLP
Kizzy is a Health, Safety and Environment partner who specialises in defending companies, senior directors and employees in corporate manslaughter and serious fire / health and safety prosecutions. Kizzy has a particular interest in the law relating to directors' health and safety duties and health and safety issues within the construction, care homes, environmental, manufacturing, fire, rail and retail industries. She provides strategic advice to a number of high profile corporate and commercial clients – both contentious advice in response to an actual incident, as well as preventative consultancy advice in relation to corporate policies and procedures to ensure compliance with current safety legislation. Kizzy joined Russell-Cooke as a partner in 2018 having previously worked at an international law firm leading their health and safety team in London. She has been recognised by The Legal 500 (2017) as a "Next Generation Lawyer" and was voted one of the top 15 most influential people in Health and Safety by Safety and Health Practitioner.

Andrew Small, Partner, Charity and Social Business Team, Russell-Cooke LLP
Andrew has spent his career advising charities and other third sector bodies on their property issues and requirements, including sales, leases, management issues and developments. He has particular experience on property issues arising from charity mergers and incorporations, as well as being an expert on property issues for schools. Andrew joined Russell Cooke as a partner in 2017, having previously been a partner at a national firm leading the property support for its nationally top rated charity and education practices, building the London property team of that firm from scratch.


Outline programme

2:00 p.m. - Welcome & introductions

2:15 p.m. - Issues arising from the Grenfell Tower Fire 

This session will be led by Kizzy Augustin who will look at some of the findings from the Hackitt report, how the issues that arise from the Grenfell fire affect dutyholders (including FM organisations and managers in the voluntary sector) and how best to protect from exposure to liability / prosecution.

3:15 p.m. - Break

3:30 p.m. - Member discussion: Environmental sustainability policies

This session will look at the design of environmental sustainability policies. It will have a particular focus on the challenges of negotiating policies which are not developed by facilities managers and but which may strongly impact f.m. operations and budgets.

4:30 p.m. - Close


Our thanks to Amnesty International for hosting this meeting.