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Surveyor who found tower fire safety ‘hazards’ at Chalcots answers critics

Former Ukip candidate defends CV

17 August, 2017 — By William McLennan

Arnold Tarling at the Chalocts estate

A SURVEYOR and former Ukip parliamentary candidate who warned that the Chalcots estate has a number of unresolved fire safety issues has defended his qualifications after several rounds of media appearances.

Arnold Tarling, a chartered surveyor, identified what he views as a series of defects inside four 23-storey blocks in Adelaide Road, including “defective” plastic windows which he believes could allow smoke and flames to spread.

He made his discovery after being employed to inspect the blocks by solicitors representing a group of residents who said they are not satisfied with assurances given by the council following the mass evacuation on June 23. Mr Tarling has repeatedly appeared in the media criticising fire safety standards in high-rise buildings following the loss of more than 80 lives in the Grenfell Tower tragedy in June.

But following the revelations in the New Journal last week, councillors questioned why he had been brought in, as he is not a member of the Institute of Fire Engineers, a professional body that offers accreditation to paid-up members who have sat exams.

Belsize Park ward councillor and leader of Camden Conservatives Claire-Louise Leyland asked why solicitors Hodge Jones and Allen, who are representing the residents, had not hired a registered fire engineer.

She said: “In any profession you can get decisions, where on balance people take a different view, but I would expect people to be registered with a professional body and that body does exist. At that point then I would start to be concerned if that person wasn’t a member of a professional body, because they are giving a view and giving it very publicly in a way that can be causing a lot of distress.”

The Chalcots estate

Mr Tarling, a Ukip candidate in Lewisham East in 2005, is a fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. He is also a member of the Association for Specialist Fire Protection. He has advised the All-Party Parliamentary Fire Safety and Rescue Group. Mr Tarling said that, while he is not a member of the Institute of Fire Engineers, he has “been asked to join” by other members.

A qualified quantity surveyor, he said he had been involved in fitting buildings with appropriate levels of fire protection and had a detailed knowledge of the standards needed to meet building regulations.

On his political past, Mr Tarling, who is no longer a member of Ukip, said it was “absolutely separate” from his professional life, adding: “If people need help, I’ll help them. I don’t care where people come from or anything else.” He added: “I meet lots of people now in politics because of the fire safety stuff. “I’ve always got on with everybody. When we were called a bunch of fruit cakes, for the [election] count I had these sweatshirts… I took the Kipling logo and changed it to Ukipling, exceedingly good cakes, no half-baked policies. “[I] took up loads of sliced fruit cake and handed it out to everybody. I actually had people running down asking me for my leaflets.”

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