Grenfell enquiry - takeaway no.1

At Labetts, we have been following the Grenfell enquiry with great attention in view of learning lessons and ensuring we have processes to avoid shortfalls that have been made clear.

We believe this tragedy should be kept front of mind, so that lessons are learnt and everyone in construction works together to ensure that a). an avoidable tragedy like Grenfell doesn’t happen again and b). there are not any “accident waiting to happen” projects out there.


From our reflections on the enquiry to date we would like to share a key takeaway which we have picked up:

• The care and due diligence needed in Value Engineering

An Expert witness at the enquiry sums this up succinctly in his submissions, “The UK construction industry has been orientated with an emphasis towards cost and value-engineering at the detriment of safety”, “Of particular relevance to the circumstances of Grenfell is [a quote from Dame Hackitt’s review] that alludes to a tendency to transfer responsibility for issues relating to safety ever further ‘downstream”. 

Additionally - "frantic cost-cutting exercises are common in the building industry”, and many decisions that should be taken early on projects are “effectively package[d] and passe[d] elsewhere”.

And also that value engineering is to “find cheaper but not worse […] less expensive ways of doing something. That is value-engineering”

Labetts takeaway from this is:

  1. Never sacrifice an atom of performance / technical attributes when exploring less expensive product options.
  2. Take responsibility for standards in our sphere of responsibility. Its our professional and ethical duty, and the enquiry shows if a problem occurs there is no place to hide.

One of our company USPs is a passion for compliance, and we are taking this to a new level in the light of our Grenfell reflections.

Grenfell – forever in our hearts, and those devastated by this forever in our prayers.

Read the full article from construction news here 👉

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Published by Lucinda Taylor December 3, 2020