/ Grenfell Tower - Safety concern for previous Council flats

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
marsbar - on 14 Jun 2017
Might things have been different if the decision to change all Council properties to arms length management had not happened?

It seems the management organisation for that block was not working well with the tenants and there were a lot of complaints.

balmybaldwin - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to marsbar:

It's also clear following the 2009 report on the previous tower block fire that the government has done a grand total of f*ck all to sort what appears to be a widespread issue.
Lemony - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to marsbar:
It's pretty early days to try and use it to make political capital.
Post edited at 13:14
12
marsbar - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Lemony:
I'm not really a political person, I just wondered, but I take your point, I apologise.
I'd be equally open to the idea that the council might well have been similarly useless.
Post edited at 13:45
Mr Lopez - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Lemony:

> It's pretty early days to try and use it to make political capital.

When 'political capital' means people's safety and a loss of life is more late than early really

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/grenfell-tower-fire-kensington-london-residents-kctmo-council-co...
1
Yanis Nayu - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Lemony:

I'm pretty sure given the circumstances that those affected will be keen to have answers to these and similar questions.

It does seem to be a number of political issues all coming together in one huge tragedy. And by political issues I mean cuts, cost-cutting and generally putting money ahead of people's safety.
1
WaterMonkey - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to marsbar:

I think we should wait for the official investigation and root cause rather than guessing and point scoring.
We should, perhaps, change this thread to comment positively on the amazing job the fire brigade have done in rescuing the amount they have in truly horrific conditions.
4
Deleted bagger - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to marsbar:

Heard on the BBC TV news that the cladding installed on the building was made of aluminium. That burns doesn't it? Remember HMS Sheffield?
2
Yanis Nayu - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to marsbar:

http://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2011/11/stephen-hammond-mp-a-bonfire-of-the-regulations.htm...

This is the environment in which regulators have been working for the past 7 years.
3
Trangia on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to WaterMonkey:
> I think we should wait for the official investigation and root cause rather than guessing and point scoring.

> We should, perhaps, change this thread to comment positively on the amazing job the fire brigade have done in rescuing the amount they have in truly horrific conditions.

Well said.

It's far too soon to speculate or start trying to score political points.

Everyone should keep their opinions private, until the cause of the outbreak and the cause of the rapid spread is known, and this includes Jeremy Corbyn who has been trying to capitalise on the tragedy without any evidence.

Time may well prove his concerns right, and if he is right then people will need to be held accountable, if necessary right up to the top, but now is not the time without the facts.
Post edited at 19:41
16
Gerry_Doncaster - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Deleted bagger:

> Heard on the BBC TV news that the cladding installed on the building was made of aluminium. That burns doesn't it? Remember HMS Sheffield?

Yes powdered aluminium cladding was also the reason the Hindenberg burned so fast.
2
pec on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

> . . . . I mean cuts, cost-cutting and generally putting money ahead of people's safety. >

They just spent £8million refurbishing the flats. Money in this case doesn't seem to be the issue, how it was spent perhaps?

Dax H - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to WaterMonkey:

> We should, perhaps, change this thread to comment positively on the amazing job the fire brigade have done in rescuing the amount they have in truly horrific conditions.

Very well said.
Top marks to the very brave boys and girls without who the death toll would have been far higher.
mkean - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Gerry_Doncaster:
Yes powdered aluminium cladding was also the reason the Hindenberg burned so fast.

I believe the Hindenberg was actually nitrocellulose mixed with aluminium and iron which is a bit worse than aluminium but I'd grant you that better materials could have been used.

Greasy Prusiks on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to WaterMonkey:

The emergency services always amaze me. Getting a fire engine on sight six minutes from getting your first phone call is unbelievably fast.
pec on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:
Helped by the lack of traffic at that time of day. Could have been a lot worse otherwise?
Post edited at 22:28
Yanis Nayu - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

According to reports firefighters working on big fires like that are supposed to work for 4 hours, but because they're so stretched they've been working 12 hours without being relieved.

They're f*cking heroes. Going into a building like that must be terrifying.
Gerry_Doncaster - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to pec:

> They just spent £8million refurbishing the flats. Money in this case doesn't seem to be the issue, how it was spent perhaps?

Yes apparently they didn't repair the lifts that hadn't worked for years. Seems they were only concerned with enhancing the appearance of the building so it didn't spoil the view of the skyline for the rich toffs in Chelsea and Kensington half a mile away.
19
Ridge - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Gerry_Doncaster:

> Yes apparently they didn't repair the lifts that hadn't worked for years. Seems they were only concerned with enhancing the appearance of the building so it didn't spoil the view of the skyline for the rich toffs in Chelsea and Kensington half a mile away.

It looks more like all the money went on insulation and double glazing. A coat of paint would have been a lot cheaper to placate the rich toffs in Chelsea and Kensington.

How about waiting for some facts before going on a witch hunt?
2
Toerag - on 14 Jun 2017
In reply to Deleted bagger:

> Heard on the BBC TV news that the cladding installed on the building was made of aluminium. That burns doesn't it? Remember HMS Sheffield?

Ally needs to get really hot to burn - I suspect the polyethylene foam inside it was the main fuel. Either way, someone's going to be in big trouble when the inevitable investigations are complete.
ashtond6 - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to pec:

> They just spent £8million refurbishing the flats. Money in this case doesn't seem to be the issue, how it was spent perhaps?

Average price in Kensington is £2m per property.
120 flats in this building
= £8m is peanuts
7
Dax H - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Greasy Prusiks:

> The emergency services always amaze me. Getting a fire engine on sight six minutes from getting your first phone call is unbelievably fast.

Me too. When our kitchen set on fire last year they were with us in under 4 mins (station is less than a mile away.
Fantastic response and great guys that turned out too.
Certainly deserved the 4 slabs of beer I dropped off the next day as a thank you.
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to ashtond6:
£8m is not peanuts and would buy a decent fire alarm for the tower and probably a sprinkler system. Seems like it was spent on mainly cosmetic enhancements. As Pec says, immediately blaming spending cuts seems a bit silly. (Also, i'm not sure what the relevance is of the value of a house nearby)
Post edited at 08:43
1
cb294 - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Gerry_Doncaster:
The Hindenburg burned because Germany has no local Helium source, and could not buy any from abroad following WWI. Filling great big sacks of whatever material with highly flammable Hydrogen instead was not such a clever idea!

CB

edit: Using in principle flammable cladding such as PE foam / aluminium composite supposedly used in London is banned in Germany on any buildings taller than 22m (the reach of a standard fire engine ladder). Should be obvious common sense. I was completely surprised to read earlier today that using such cladding had apparently been legal under the relevant building regulations.

Post edited at 09:07
The New NickB - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

It's not directly related to spending cuts. There are two accusations at present. One is that the management trust have not been at all responsive to safety concerns raised by residents, they manage the building on behalf of Kensington and Chelsea Council, but having heard the relevant Council portfolio holder on the radio yesterday, it is clear that they would not have been any more responsive. The second issue is regulation, various recommendations have been made by coroners and others and the government have done nothing, despite promising to update part B of the building regs for years.

More generally, billions of pounds has been spent over the last decade using similar cladding systems on residential buildings. The government must now do something, the question is what.
ads.ukclimbing.com
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to The New NickB:

Do you know if the fire service sign off a building using building regs as the rule? Or do they have their own criteria?
Bjartur i Sumarhus on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to The New NickB:

Looking into KCTMO, it seems that it was lauded as the future of tenant management with the board made up mainly of existing tenants, so seems strange that they would have acted so badly in the face of increasing worries about safety from the tenants of the block (Grenfell Action Group) as is being widely reported

For others (like me) who didn't know much about TMOs I found this from the wiki page of KCTMO
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2009/sep/23/tenant-management-organisations-housing

The New NickB - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

Far from my area of expertise.
'Hilda' - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to marsbar:
There have been numerous fires globally blamed on exterior cladding and insulation, so I think its not to much of a leap to see that Grenfell is sadly in the same group. Though the PU based materials used have to reach burn test fire regulations, these are only over a timed period and at certain temperatures, after which they will combust. Added to this the chimney effect of air gaps left between the building and insulation, with rapid fire tracking. The replaced windows were almost certainly sealed with expanding foam, again this would be fire rated. But it will still combust.
Foam insulation products have been in short supply since BASF in Frankfurt suffered a serious and extensive fire late last year after an serious explosion and extensive fire at part of their site that makes expanded foam insulation boards. ,(I hope the irony of that is not lost on you) but its still the 'go-to' product for insulation.
The problem is the materials we use for this insulation. These are mostly chemically derived - its a massive industry with a massive lobby behind it.
1
thebigfriendlymoose - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to 'Hilda':

Lots of initial news reports suggest that aluminium and polyethylene sandwich panels were used - which I have never come across - usually its polystyrene in very low risk environments, with as stringency increases, PU, PIR and mineral wool being used. Reports are pretty muddles re whether there was just composite panels cladding the concrete exterior, or some extra thermal insulation inbetween (possibly polysyrene).
dread-i - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to The New NickB:

>The second issue is regulation, various recommendations have been made by coroners and others and the government have done nothing, despite promising to update part B of the building regs for years.

"Gavin Barwell, who was housing minister until losing his Croydon Central seat in last week’s election, promised to review part B of the Building Regulations 2010, which relate to fire safety, but that review never materialised. Barwell is now Theresa May’s Chief of Staff and he – like the 70+ Tory MPs who voted against minimal standards of safety for those who rent – has questions to answer."
http://www.huckmagazine.com/perspectives/opinion-perspectives/greenfell-tower-fire-political-aron-ba...

2
Yanis Nayu - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

The actual fabric of the building is only one (important) aspect - management arrangements and maintenance are also important. I don't think the FS sign-off building tbh. I think it's done by Building Control under Building Regs, then the owner of the building carries-out a Fire Risk Assessment, which is what the Fire Officer would assess if they inspected. I strongly suspect (but don't know) that they don't routinely inspect buildings; rather just offer advice on request and respond to complaints.

There has been massive amounts of deregulation in the U.K. over the past few years.
2
neilh - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

??? Are you sure about that in terms of deregulation, its not the way I see it as a business owner and propery owner.

I would even suggest its become far too complicated.

And Fire Officers to my knowledge have never routinely inspected all buildings.

One of the great improvements in safety etc has been the reduction in fires over the past few decades.
Yanis Nayu - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

As far as I understand it, the Regulatory Reform Order replaced the need for fire safety certificates for certain classes of premises (and I think issued by the FS) with the need to do a fire risk assessment. I'm only involved on the periphery of this kind of stuff though.

I guess it's more accurate to say there has been a drive to reduce the amount of regulatory inspection in general (particularly in health and safety which is something I do know about). So if you're a business that complies you still have the same amount to do, but if you're not you're less likely to be found out.

There's a big review into how food safety is to be enforced underway at the moment: https://www.food.gov.uk/enforcement/regulation/regulating-our-future

One aspect is the move to self-enforcement.


1
neilh - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

There is nothing wrong with self -enforcement as there is a great big stick ( fines and jail) if you get it wrong.

This is a terrible disaster.....

1
John Stainforth - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to ashtond6:

To highlight the disparity further, two-bedroom apartments in W1 are currently going for about 5.5 million pounds, while others are being let for 17,500 pounds per week!
neilh - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to John Stainforth:

There was a fascinating interview on Today this morning with an offfcer from Southwark council looking at the upgrades to housing following the fire a few years ago when a bout 6 died.. It was pretty impressive and llustrated what can be done
Yanis Nayu - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to neilh:

> There is nothing wrong with self -enforcement as there is a great big stick ( fines and jail) if you get it wrong.

Often not a lot of comfort to the bereaved.

> This is a terrible disaster.....

Agreed.

1
Ridge - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:

> £8m is not peanuts and would buy a decent fire alarm for the tower and probably a sprinkler system. Seems like it was spent on mainly cosmetic enhancements. As Pec says, immediately blaming spending cuts seems a bit silly.

£8m works out at over £60k per flat, so probably a lot more than pure cosmetics. The panels in question and the UPVC glazing will have been installed to increase insulation in what was probably a cold and damp 1970s block. Retrofitting a sprinkler system wouldn't be cheap, as well as the plumbing there'd have to be a massive header tank on the roof, very expensive diesel pumps to keep feeding it in the event of power loss in a fire and all sorts of expensive kit. I'm also not sure what use a sprinker would be for an external fire like that.

deacondeacon - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to Ridge:

>I'm also not sure what use a sprinker would be for an external fire like that.

a sprinkler system would have stopped the fire well before it became an external issue surely? Also would it not keep the stairwells /escape routes fire free?
Obviously this whole thread is speculation but if you have a limited amount of money to renovate/modernise a block of flats I can't help but think that decorative cladding should be a lot further down the list than safety features such as sprinkler systems.

dread-i - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to deacondeacon:

>Also would it not keep the stairwells /escape routes fire free?

In blocks I've been in the stairs and landings are usually concrete. It may be the case, and I'm guessing here, that a fire lower down would put a lot of smoke in the stair wells. The stair wells may not be vented, so that though the fire is some floors below the smoke has nowhere to escape.
climbingpixie on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to deacondeacon:

The cladding won't be purely decorative though, it will have been installed as insulation. When I worked at an energy company we funded a lot of these high rise EWI retrofit projects all over the country as part of our government energy saving obligations and we weren't the only ones, I'm sure many of the other energy companies did the same. This disaster makes me fear that we've made tower blocks more dangerous in an attempt to save energy and get people out of fuel poverty.
Neil Williams - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to climbingpixie:

I've not long fitted Celotex and new wooden cladding under my front window to replace two pieces of damp plywood with nothing between them. It did occur to me when doing that that the upside is energy saving (and it is noticeable on bills, it used to leak heat like a single glazed window) but the downside is that it is rather more flammable than it was before.

Of course with a house you can get out more easily.
Dr.S at work - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to climbingpixie:

Its a worry - well intentioned (and indeed effective) intervention leads to horrific disaster.
climbwhenready - on 15 Jun 2017
In reply to deacondeacon:

As other posters have said, these claddings (going onto towers up and down the country) are not intended to be decorative. They are installed as insulation. The aesthetic effect is purely incidental - once you're covering towers in something, you may as well try to make it look nicer at the same time.
Roadrunner5 - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to WaterMonkey:

> I think we should wait for the official investigation and root cause rather than guessing and point scoring.

> We should, perhaps, change this thread to comment positively on the amazing job the fire brigade have done in rescuing the amount they have in truly horrific conditions.

I really dont think we should.

Its 2017. A high rise block of flats has just been incinerated. This should be impossible.
summo on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to marsbar:

It's ok now. Looks like Lily Allen is on scene. She knows best.
9
Ridge - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to climbwhenready:
> As other posters have said, these claddings (going onto towers up and down the country) are not intended to be decorative. They are installed as insulation. The aesthetic effect is purely incidental - once you're covering towers in something, you may as well try to make it look nicer at the same time.

It's odd how a narrative takes hold, that the blocks had cladding purely so they looked nice. It's been fitted for practical reasons, but something has gone horribly wrong either in the fitting of the cladding or in the approval for this type of cladding on high-rises.

Edit. I think the obsession with sprinklers in the media might also be a red herring. Having briefly lived in a block of council flats I can well imagine the entire block being wrecked by kids building fires to try and set off the sprinklers. A better question would be why weren't the panels massively more fire retardant in the first place to contain the original fire as per the original design.
Post edited at 06:42
WaterMonkey - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Roadrunner5:

> I really dont think we should.

Well I'm afraid you have no choice if you want to deal with facts

2
Neil Williams - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Ridge:
> Edit. I think the obsession with sprinklers in the media might also be a red herring. Having briefly lived in a block of council flats I can well imagine the entire block being wrecked by kids building fires to try and set off the sprinklers. A better question would be why weren't the panels massively more fire retardant in the first place to contain the original fire as per the original design.

Yes, I agree this is the bigger issue. Flame retardent clearly isn't good enough - they need to use wholly non-flammable materials on a building designed not to fully evacuate/evacuate quickly in case of fire, i.e. rockwool/fibreglass rather than polystyrene, even if that means making it thicker.
Post edited at 07:47
ads.ukclimbing.com
neilh - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:

It probably offsets the effect of insulation, and as other posters have noted the drive has been on energy efficency( making places warm, offsetting CO2 etc etc). No one material can do everything.
Fraser on 16 Jun 2017
Okay, in an attempt to add some FACTS to the case, I am c&p-ing the relevant clause from the Scottish Building Standards (ie. Regs) which stipulate the requirements of external cladding on domestic high-rise buildings. The English regs may vary but are most likely quite similar, so if you're interested you can check for yourselves. The part relating to cavity barriers is, to my mind, most pertinent. These are non-combustible fire-breaks at the stated centres - usually at each floor level and round all openings in the external walls - which prevent smoke and fire spreading vertically up the external construction of a building. If these aren't installed, there is greatly increased risk of spread of flame than if they are installed.

2.7.1 External wall cladding

External wall cladding includes non load-bearing external wall cladding systems attached to the structure, for example, clay or concrete tiles, slates, pre-cast concrete panels, stone panels, masonry, profiled metal sheeting including sandwich panels, weather boarding, thermally insulated external wall rendered systems, glazing systems and other ventilated cladding systems.

External wall cladding more than 1m to the boundary may be constructed from combustible products more than 1mm thick which is low, medium, high or very high risk (see annex 2.B). This guidance does not apply to high rise domestic buildings.

External wall cladding not more than 1m from a boundary should have a non-combustible classification except cladding to a house where:
- the cladding achieves a low risk reaction to fire classification, and
- the wall behind the cladding has the appropriate fire resistance duration from both sides.

High rise domestic buildings - external wall cladding used on the external wall of a high rise domestic building should be constructed of non-combustible products.

However an insulation product need not achieve a non-combustible classification where:

- the insulation product is located between 2 leaves of masonry or concrete at least 75mm thick, and
- the external wall is provided with cavity barriers around all openings and at the top of the wall-head.

Alternative guidance - BR 135, ‘Fire Performance of external thermal insulation for walls of multi-storey buildings’ and BS 8414: Part 1: 2002 or BS 8414: Part 2: 2005 has been updated to include the most up-to-date research into fire spread on external wall cladding. The guidance provided in these publications may be used as an alternative to non-combustible external wall cladding as described above and for materials exposed in a cavity, as described in clause 2.4.7.



Also, as someone had mentioned it higher up this thread, regarding the venting of escape stairs, in new build this is required. You need a 1sqm opening vent at the topmost level of all such stairs. They also require smoke lobbies between adjacent spaces (usually a circulation space [corridor]) and the stair, in an attempt to stop smoke from entering the stair itself.

New build, high rise domestic buildings don't necessarily need a 'sprinkler system' but they do require an "automatic life safety fire suppression system":



2.15.3 High rise domestic buildings

Occupants are at greater risk from fire if they are located on a floor high above the ground. Wind effects might also have an influence on the speed, intensity and direction of fire development within the dwelling or other ancillary room or space of fire origin.

Therefore, in order to help contain the fire and to protect occupants in high rise domestic buildings, every flat or maisonette including all ancillary rooms and spaces throughout the building should be provided with an automatic life safety fire suppression system designed and installed in accordance with BS 9251: 2005. For the purposes of satisfying Standard 2.15, a high rise domestic building should be regarded as a ‘residential occupancy’ as defined in BS 9251: 2005 and the limit on the scope of BS 9251: 2005 to buildings below 20m in height can be ignored.



Toerag - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Fraser:

> High rise domestic buildings - external wall cladding used on the external wall of a high rise domestic building should be constructed of non-combustible products.

> However an insulation product need not achieve a non-combustible classification where:

> - the insulation product is located between 2 leaves of masonry or concrete at least 75mm thick, and

> - the external wall is provided with cavity barriers around all openings and at the top of the wall-head.

> Therefore, in order to help contain the fire and to protect occupants in high rise domestic buildings, every flat or maisonette including all ancillary rooms and spaces throughout the building should be provided with an automatic life safety fire suppression system designed and installed in accordance with BS 9251: 2005. For the purposes of satisfying Standard 2.15, a high rise domestic building should be regarded as a ‘residential occupancy’ as defined in BS 9251: 2005 and the limit on the scope of BS 9251: 2005 to buildings below 20m in height can be ignored.

That's all the relevant bits that would apply to Grenfell. Given that I don't believe the insulation was under 75mm of solid cover the regs would have been broken if it were in Scotland. Who has access to the English regs?
Fraser on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Toerag:

Be aware that these are the requirements for new-build, Scottish developments, and are not necessarily applicable to refurbishment. Whatever was fitted and for whatever reason, the cladding and substrates used on the building in question would presumably have a BBA certificates to illustrate compliance with the relevant testing regime.

http://www.bbacerts.co.uk/
MG - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Toerag:

> That's all the relevant bits that would apply to Grenfell. Given that I don't believe the insulation was under 75mm of solid cover the regs would have been broken if it were in Scotland. Who has access to the English regs?

Everyone
https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/building-regulation
https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/approved-documents
summo on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Toerag:

Does that apply to retro fits?
Yanis Nayu - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Fraser:

Building Regs aren't retrospective though are they?
1
Fraser on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

Correct.
jkarran - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Roadrunner5:

> I really dont think we should.
> Its 2017. A high rise block of flats has just been incinerated. This should be impossible.

Should be but sadly isn't. Surely the scientist in you wants to know why and how to stop it happening again rather than guessing.

The answer is probably the same as for similar fires elsewhere but probably isn't good enough if you're going to base potentially billions of pounds of disruptive work on it. Work that might actually get gone this time given how vulnerable the government is and how angry the people are.
jk
jkarran - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

> Building Regs aren't retrospective though are they?

Yes and no. As I understand it notifiable work you do has to be done to current building regs but you don't have to do all of the work required to bring the building up to present standards just because you're doing some of it. For example: if you fit new windows at the rear they have to comply with modern standards but you don't have to replace the old non-compliant single glazing units at the front at the same time nor for that matter upgrade your slightly undersize floor joists.
jk
Malarkey on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to jkarran:

It maybe some time before we know the exact details how the fire started... But everyone saw the cladding burning. You don't need to be a civil engineer to know that a fire shouldn't spread across the whole exterior of a tower block.

And we do know exactly that the cladding was made of aluminium over a polyethylene core. It is £2 a meter cheaper than the fire resistant alternative.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40283980

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/16/manufacturer-of-cladding-on-grenfell-tower-identifie...

We don't know everything - there are indications that there maybe other problem with the installation. Plenty remains to be established. But we know enough already to say that a cost cutting decision lies at the heart of this utter catastrophe.

2
Fraser on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Malarkey:

Just to be pedantic, from those links we know what the BBC and Guardian are reporting, nothing more.
2
Toerag - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to marsbar:

I think the skyscrapercity forum link on the other thread is the place to watch for discussion on the cladding situation. I also think there could be riots today or tomorrow - people already staging a protest in the council offices.
Lusk - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to Fraser:

> Just to be pedantic, from those links we know what the BBC and Guardian are reporting, nothing more.

https://twitter.com/jim_reed/status/875717730590228482?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2F...

Just heard on the radio, May is setting up £5 million for the victims.
Maybe if they'd spent that money in the first place ... (I'm going to refrain from further comment on this subject).
2
Roadrunner5 - on 16 Jun 2017
In reply to jkarran:

Of course, but I think we should ask away and consider removing all cladding ASAP until the report comes out. That could take a year plus and in a world with terror we have loads of obvious targets now..
2
L philsacre - on 17 Jun 2017
In reply to marsbar:

I wonder whether BBA Certs will get the blame for the Grenfell Tower disaster, because they approved cladding panels without testing them for fire in the situation they would be used. I have long argued that they show undu bias in return for fat sums of money. My specialism is waterproof concrete and there are BBA certificates for products that do nothing. But certification is a money tree when specifiers have to use products certified in Britain.
BBA don't appreciate their responsibility. Someone there should go to jail. I hope that the H&S Exec thoroughly investigates their part in this tragedy.
My point is, everyone thinks they did their duty choosing a product with a BBA certificate - except the people who issued the certificate.
Phil Sacre
www.waterproofconcrete.co.uk
2
summo on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to marsbar:

The stuff below is copied, but i imagine the truth lies somewhere between this and corbyn's lynch mobs.

Before people. join the Theresa May lynch mob here are some FACTS relating to the Grenfell tragedy..

1. The block of flats was run not by the Council but by KCTMO. This body is made up of 8 TENANTS, 4 councilors and 3 independent members.

2 Labour hold the seat that the block is situated in.

3 Labour run the London Council who manage the under funded London Fire Service

4 Emma Coad the sitting Labour MP for that ward also sat on the KCTMO.

5 The advice to stay put which Sadiq Khan has been so vocal about was given by the London Fire Service.

6 The decision to change contractors during the refurb was made by KCTMO.

7 The decision not to spend an additional £138k on fitting sprinklers was again KCTMO.

8 The decision to create ALMO organisation such as the KCTMO was made under the Right To Manage legislation passed in 2002 as part of the Commonhold and Leasehold Reform Act.

9 This was put in place to give leaseholders and tenants a greater say and the ability to self manage, which in some circumstances has clearly proven to be flawed.

10 Which Govt was in a charge when this law was passed? It was Labour.

11 Sadiq Khan as mayor of London Produced a report to say that the fire service did not need further funding.

12 Emma Coad elected Labour MP was on the board of the Tenant Management group who are being accused of not listening to tenants.

It's a modern lynch mob encouraged by bitter Labour MPs who having lost a close election want to destroy an elected government for a chance of a second election.
6
Fraser on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Bjartur i Sumarhus:
> Do you know if the fire service sign off a building using building regs as the rule? Or do they have their own criteria?

In Scotland they don't (England, I'm not sure about but I imagine it's the same) but they are consultees in the process and will ultimately confirm they have no further objections to what is being proposed in the design. I'd have assumed that the reg.s will have been drafted following very detailed consultation with high level fire services officers. The full building 'sign-off' you describe is done by the main contractor, in that they confirm in writing that the construction works have been done in accordance with the approved documents. These documents are all those items, drawings, specifications, specialist reports etc which were submitted as part of the Building Warrant application. Again I'm talking about in Scotland, which I know is different in that we don't have independent inspectors. The Building Control officer will inspect the works at certain key points as they see fit. On most projects (above a certain size), details or elements of the design change from what was originally submitted for approval, and these are picked up, usually in chunks, in 'Amendments to Warrant'.

To get back to your question, the Fire Services will inspect the drawings being submitted and have meetings with the designers - including, sometimes, specialist Fire Engineering consultants - to make sure it's understood what they require in terms of physical provision eg. hydrants in the street, dry riser inlets, where they connect the fire engine to the system of pipes inside the building to which they connect their fire hoses. Dry riser outlet positions are stipulated in the Building Regs. as are smoke venting and smoke lobbies. Fire Services Officers will also make sure the compartmentation is correct in terms of duration: low, med or high which in real terms translates to 30minutes, 60mins or 120mins fire resistant construction. Materials are tested independently so they can gain the necessary BBA certificates showing they will achieve those levels of fire resistance with any given construction. For example, one layer of 15mm fireline board on either side of a 70mm metal C-stud, with 50mm Isover insulation gives you 60mins FR.

FYI, on any larger scale building I've helped design, at the meetings I've had with the Fire Services, staff have always said fires are fought from the floor below the level of the fire. They also visit the building in question for a walk through and familiarise themselves with the layout so they can have an idea of how they would tackle a fire in various locations.

Travel distance from the furthest-most points in the building to escape stairs are likewise stipulated to make sure escapees can reach a place of safety in what is considered an acceptable time scale. In some cases, a single direction of travel is permitted before you reach a stair or diverge and choose which stair to escape via. Everything should of course be clearly signed and there should be emergency lighting which remains visible in the event of power failure.

Minimum clear escape widths are also stipulated in the reg.s; you are not allowed to store or keep items (sofas, tv,s, general rubbbish etc) anywhere along these escape routes. I've seen some photos of this tragic case which show all of the above, a situation which shouldn't have been permitted. It's for others to say why these items were dumped where they were and then, presumably left to remain as a fire hazard and an obstruction.

Edit: typos
Post edited at 11:18
marsbar - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Fraser:

I believe some of the emergency lighting also failed and this wasn't the first time either.
Fraser on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to marsbar:

I hadn't heard that but it would certainly add a lot to the confusion and panic.
Jim C - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Yanis Nayu:

> According to reports firefighters working on big fires like that are supposed to work for 4 hours, but because they're so stretched they've been working 12 hours without being relieved.

As one firefighter said , the service holds the government in contempt , despite the government hailing them as heros.
summo on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Jim C:

> As one firefighter said , the service holds the government in contempt , despite the government hailing them as heros.

Certainly since the reforms took their beds away. ;)
1
Jim C - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to summo:

> Certainly since the reforms took their beds away. ;)

All I know my friend and neighbour ( a fire chief) can't wait to get out of the job he used to enjoy.

If I did not know him, I could say that they were soft on him, and are now making his life tougher so he wants out, but I know he was trying to do the job properly, but was not given the resources to do so.

You need to choose what you want to believe.
Kirriemuir - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to summo:

> Certainly since the reforms took their beds away. ;)

You are misinformed summo (or perhaps a bit ahead of yourself), beds in fire stations are still the norm. Although none of the ones I have used have been decent and the situation does not lend itself to a good nights` sleep.
Rob Exile Ward on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to summo:
What is missing (and is generally missing from the analysis that I have seen) is that however chaotic the management of council properties used to be, it became infinitely more so when Thatcher forced through 'the right to buy.'

And before some of you start moaning 'not her again' the FACTS are these. Thatcher forced through the right to buy, partly no doubt out of genuine desire to create a home owning democracy, party from political expediency. Like many of Thatcher's policies, it was implemented in haste and on the fly.

Many tenants were encouraged to 'buy' their own flats in places like Grenfell Tower, without realising - or having oit explained to them - that the maintenance costs that had previously been met by the council would now be borne by them. And better still - each lease was negotiated individually, so some tenants, e.g. those on the ground floor, might negotiate a lease that, say, excluded maintenance of the lifts or roof - because it didn't affect them. Others, even in adjacent flats, could have a different lease which meant that they bore a disproportionate proportion of maintenance costs.

Needless to say quite few people have made an absolute fortune out of right to buy, with sharp elbowed lawyers grabbing properties that are now worth millions; for the rest it has been a complete clusterf*ck, with councils responsible for maintaining buildings, but not able to embark on major works without extracting the money from tenants, who mostly cannot afford to pay. I was working for Hackney a few years as a contractor trying to make sense of all the different leases and put them on some sort of sensible basis; it was a project that just fizzled out because it was too complicated and not sexy enough for councillors to take an interest. I believe that KCTMO were slowly getting their act together after 20 years of chaos; I know some of the officers, pretty well as it happens, who are as conscientious, professional and hardworking as any of us, (the same can't necessarily be said for their contractors, however.) And now this.
Post edited at 14:46
ads.ukclimbing.com
summo on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Rob Exile Ward:

Plenty people have been in office since Thatcher, and plenty Labour voters love right to buy .

I was not suggesting anyone on a committee wasn't working hard, only that the problems aren't likely only going to be the Tories fault, given the Labour dominance in that council.

I think Labour is just trying to throw the blame before the truth of where it should lie is declared.
2
neilh - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to summo:
I thought it was a Tory council?
Maria Dixon on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to summo:
You describe Emma Coad as 'the sitting Labour MP' for Kensington, but she's only been in post for a week! The seat had been held by the conservatives for many years prior to that.

Emma Coad also left the KCTMO board in 2012, long before the refurbishment of Grenfell House.

And K&C Council is conservative too - they hold 40 of the 50 seats.

It's best to check your 'facts' before pointing fingers, I think.
Post edited at 17:39
Lusk - on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to summo:

> Certainly since the reforms took their beds away. ;)

You really are a prime Tory tosser.
I think the likes of you, pontificating from your privileged positions abroad, should just butt out of anything UK.
To think I used to read your posts pre-EUref, thinking you knew what you were talking about ...
More fool me for being taken in. I hang my head in embarrassment and shame.
4
summo on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Maria Dixon:
If you read my post again, you'll see I said I had copied the list and i said that I thought the truth would lie somewhere between the list and the Labour lunch mob version.
2
summo on 18 Jun 2017
In reply to Lusk:
> You really are a prime Tory tosser.

Tolerant far left as usual?

Given that I voted lib dem I'm hardly a Tory, I just don't buy the constant bilge thrown out by the current Labour leadership.

As for the abroad bit, sometimes you see the world more clearly when you aren't fully immersed in it? Or have seen other systems to compare the UK one too?

Edit. Finally, as I'm not a corbista I won't resort to insults, just because we have differing politics opinions.
Post edited at 18:49
1

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.