Sharing the lesson from Grenfell and supporting those affected

Paul Ford, Chairman of DE Group, was the first engineer to enter Grenfell Tower once the fire had been extinguished. He had been asked for his professional opinion on what, if anything, could be done to make the building stable and allow safe access for victim recovery and the subsequent investigation into its cause. Only once the building was deemed safe could homes local to the tower and the all-important community hubs be safely re-occupied. This would take quite some time.

Dangerous Structure

Screenshot 2022 04 11 at 17Four years on from Paul and his team’s work at Grenfell, he has published a book, Dangerous Structure. Both a guide to the remediation of dangerous structures and a compelling account of the response at Grenfell Tower, Paul explains why he wrote it:

Like everyone seeing these images I was momentarily speechless, sickened and saddened. Working in the specialist field of construction and deconstruction, it’s also my responsibility to respond 24/7, 365 days a year to dangerous structures in the Greater London area. Even so, I had no idea that I might be called upon to make safe this fire-ravaged 24-storey effigy to loss in North Kensington. At the time, I was seeing the images but thinking of little more than the victims and the likely investigation into the cause of the disaster. It was beyond comprehension that such a catastrophe could be possible in the modern-day UK. With our seemingly strict standards of building regulations and high expectations on managing safety, how could this have happened.

The time is now right to share not only an operational insight into the problems at Grenfell but also notes on a range of other notable responses. 

I decided to write this book when I first realised that no readily available guide currently provides any narrative or direction on the remediation of dangerous structures. In an industry where safety is the single most important factor, it’s surprising and disappointing that no specialist overview or White Paper has ever explained what needs to be considered and allowed for when tackling a dangerous building, let alone the emergency powers that are used by a local authority to protect the public.

The time is now right to share not only an operational insight into the problems at Grenfell – the most challenging and daunting dangerous structure in my experience – but also notes on a range of other notable responses in a personal casebook stretching back over 15 years with responsibility for London.

I hope this book will help to standardise a national approach along with the expectations of local authorities. It will provide the practical tools and share the vital considerations that any industry specialist or engineer might find valuable when faced with different types of dangerous structure – tips that should raise awareness of common challenges and specific responses, helping to ensure a successful remediation.

I also hope the back-story to our work at Grenfell will provide an interesting insight to such a hugely challenging response. A factual reflection of an intense period of working with multi-agency and government departments.

National Emergency Services Support Taskforce (NESST)

Paul is the founder and Chairman of the newly formed National Emergency Services Support. NESST is a national network of experts that provide pro-bono support to the emergency services where a major incident has persons trapped or vital infrastructure compromised. Paul stated; “I’m also reaching out nationally to like-minded, skilled professionals and businesses to join the initiative and create a national network of expertise. We do it for free, and we can make a real difference and help save lives and protect public infrastructure.”

Paul Ford

Screenshot 2022 04 11 at 17Paul is Chairman of De-Group UK Limited which includes Deconstruct, the company still responsible for the maintenance, safety and stability of Grenfell. Paul has taken personal responsibility of hundreds of dangerous structures since 2005 and worked with the emergency services throughout that period.


The proceeds of the book will be shared between the Grenfell charities to help support the survivors and families of the victims (72%) and 28% will go to Mates in Mind, a charity set up to support mental health in the construction industry. The Book can be purchased at