Who will forget seeing the images of Grenfell Tower burning? Like a kind of horrified, unwilling voyeur, I - like so many - felt frustrated and helpless knowing that it would prove impossible to help those trapped.

Richard Steer

Those who help to create buildings hold their collective breath after a tragedy of this magnitude to see what lessons could and should be learnt - whether this was a one-off or if there was a systemic failure.

Above all, everyone needs guidance as to what materials it is safe to use as we continue to provide advice to our clients that need to build. After all, a type of cladding and insulation used in more than 80 tower blocks across England has failed safety tests and represents a “significant fire hazard”, the government has revealed.

Now, some weeks since the tragedy, the government review of fire and safety regulations has begun. The timeframe for the review is not short.

Gleeds infographic

However, this needs to be a forensic and detailed process to give confidence to the public that if they are hundreds of feet up in the air in a tower block in the future, they are not at risk from the materials used to build that structure.

The Royal Institute of British Architects has already come out quite strongly with a view that the inquiry must have the broadest possible remit. This should include examining the overall regulatory and procurement context for the construction of buildings in the UK, to ensure any systemic issues that may have an impact on the design, quality of construction and safety of buildings are brought under appropriate scrutiny.

I strongly support the suggestion that any review must include an analysis of the mechanisms by which fire brigades are engaged in the development of building regulations and can provide input into the design of individual structures.

However, my major worry is not the review’s findings - I am more concerned about what happens afterwards. There is going to be a need for additional funding if local authorities and housing associations are going to change the way they build and supervise the new regulatory programme.

A massive retrofit and refurbishment programme could well be in progress by this time next year, with a bill that is likely to run into many billions. Someone is going to need to pick up the tab, and the communities department has already said that, in effect, local government will need to meet these costs from existing budgets.

We have all seen the public evisceration of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council for its perceived mismanagement - the government should take note.

Richard Steer is chairman of Gleeds Worldwide