…that changes so much

To cite the butterfly effect to explain how a political party, initially so far behind in the polls, could have ballooned in popularity to being within a few thousand votes of a majority in the UK Parliament seems glib now. But, in uncertain times it’s as if life itself is becoming rolling news.

Writing as the damped-down smoke of Grenfell Tower still rises over London, to jump to conclusions about anything, particularly how such an appalling tragedy could happen today, would be foolish. But there will be repercussions that will, rightly, be felt by all in the industry.  

All that should have filled anyone’s mind since the fire is the devastating loss of life, families ruined, and homes and possessions needlessly destroyed. In an industry dedicated to generating the structures that help organise, house and better society, an event such as this throws into the sharpest relief the huge responsibility of the profession to work proactively with everyone in the process to ensure our buildings are structurally sound, fit for purpose and, above all, safe. 

Building Regulations and BS guidance can seem limiting, dry and tedious, but they form the inviolable mesh in the safety net of the design – and in this case even they will be found wanting. Attention to detail and vigilance is everything. No dreamy allusion of a delicate butterfly’s wings felling an Amazonian tree here, just the nausea-inducing realisation of the effect’s relevance. Inaction or omission. Somewhere, somehow, this hellish conflagration came from a single flame unstopped.