One thought on “Persimmon and Bellway – many homes not fire safe

  1. It simply isn’t good enough to say that they are improving after the event.

    All businesses have a legal responsibility to meet legally binding safety regulations – their responsibility is to ensure that their staff are trained IN ADVANCE on how to complete the work to ensure that legal requirements are met – and to have quality assurance in place to check that it is happening.

    The analogy of a car air-bag in the BBC article is not really quite correct. This is like a car manufacturer setting up their manufacturing line so that an air-bag is fitted by people who have so little training that sometimes they fit paper shopping bags or balloons and occasionally they fit proper air bags and in some cases they might actually connect the air bags to the sensors which would trigger them – and in a factory where there are no quality inspections to make sure that they are being fitted properly.

    In other words, this is not simply poor quality – some people might possibly consider it to be gross negligence, and if someone died in a fire because of mandatory fire barriers were missing, the directors might potentially be facing corporate manslaughter charges.

    As far as I can see this is simply good old fashioned corporate greed by the directors of property development companies who are perfectly happy to take home utterly obscene pay and reward packages, but give scant regard to their responsibilities to build homes which are safe and which meet legally required safety standards.

    Michael Douglas said in the film “Wall Street” that “Greed is good”. Tell that to all the homeowners living in properties without legally required fire safety barriers.

    ——————————————

    However we also need to look at how this was allowed to happen, because it didn’t use to be like this. In years gone by, new buildings were inspected by INDEPENDENT building inspectors from the local council who required building work to pause briefly until safety features had been positively verified to be correct.

    But then the Tories bowed to pressure from their developer friends (and Tory party donors) and decided to allow builders to employ their own building inspectors (he who pays the piper calls the tune) rather than having INDEPENDENT local authority inspectors. If these building inspectors had done their job properly, these issues would never have happened. The ONLY conclusion you can reach is that privatising building inspections was yet another privatisation mistake – we all know how capitalism works, and this consequence was entirely predictable. But when privatisation dogma / moral corruption is driving policy rather than public safety, such predictions are simply an inconvenient truth.

    The role of government is not only to encourage economic growth (giving voters jobs), but it is also to protect voters interests against excessive capitalistic greed – privatisation at-all-cost does not to do this.

    When Labour say “for the many not the few” they are not simply talking about tax policy – they are also saying that their role is tio protect the public from safety issues arising from capitalist greed.

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