An Accident waiting to happen...

Media articles about money-saving topics

Re: An Accident waiting to happen...

Postby Derbiean » Wed Jun 14, 2017 8:35 pm

dorisifa wrote:My apologies for moving away from the original theme of the thread, but what have people made of the TV coverage? I ask because of the focus on footage of people trapped at their windows, and audio of people shouting for help, with the fire raging and no indication that these people did not perish. I found these images profoundly disturbing and voyeuristic. Am I being squeamish? is it wrong to be squeamish being shown the desperate panic of people potentially about to die in fire?


Nah its quite a distressing thing to watch especially as you're powerless to do anything about it.

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Re: An Accident waiting to happen...

Postby blythburgh » Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:20 am

It should not have been shown, the fire itself was bad enough to be shown.

And Boro Boy's original post frightens me. Our multi story (not very tall) car park is closed due to the concrete problems. I can accept that houses do not have to be made of bricks but they seem to be cutting corners left right and centre. I bet the multi story sold for the rich to actually live in would be built to a far higher standard. But rich or poor they are human beings and many of those living there will be going out to work and paying taxes. Not as much as their rich neighbours but add in things like VAT etc and they pay a higher proportion of their income in tax than the rich do
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Re: An Accident waiting to happen...

Postby Chadwick » Thu Jun 15, 2017 9:56 am

I understand that the underlying safety concept in these constructions is that each flat is a self-contained fireproof unit. A fire in one flat should not be able to spread to another - at least not quickly, and allowing time for the rest of the block to be evacuated.

Clearly something was wrong in this block. The finger of blame seems to be pointing at the new cladding. It didn't help that there was no sprinkler system and there are reports of fire alarms not working.
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Re: An Accident waiting to happen...

Postby macliam » Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:25 am

Chadwick wrote:I understand that the underlying safety concept in these constructions is that each flat is a self-contained fireproof unit. A fire in one flat should not be able to spread to another - at least not quickly, and allowing time for the rest of the block to be evacuated.

Clearly something was wrong in this block. The finger of blame seems to be pointing at the new cladding. It didn't help that there was no sprinkler system and there are reports of fire alarms not working.

The power of understatement. :roll:

The cladding used has been linked to fires elesewhere. A mineral rather than plastic core is thought to be safer - both were available from the supplier, the contractor chose plastic - I suspect on cost. The contractor has said that the use of the cladding met all UK building regulations. So, building regs are obviously out of date and contractor chose on price not safety. Nobody bothered to check, it seems.

The alarm system didn't work. This suggests that there had been no Alarm tests or the sensors were not working. Either seems to be a damning indictment of the building managers.

This fire has been awful If the number killed reaches the numbers predicted, then a mere slap on the wrist is not enough. Someone is responsible for the deaths of all those people.
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Re: An Accident waiting to happen...

Postby Constantine » Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:34 am

macliam wrote:Money spent tarting up a tower block by cladding the outside - meanwhile reports that the fire alarms weren't working...... and obviously the fire suppression (if it existed) was inadequate. Things that would have a company closed down, yet people young and old were housed there.

A quick makeover to increase the market value, but scrimping on the infrastructure - with the deaths now standing at almost the same number as the London terrorist attack, this needs to be a criminal investigation.


You are misinformed. Tarting up the tower block by cladding the outside (as you put it) had nothing to do with increasing market value. Grenfell Tower is council housing, The cladding was all about thermal insulation. It was a green thing.

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Re: An Accident waiting to happen...

Postby Boro Boy » Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:45 am

Chadwick wrote:I understand that the underlying safety concept in these constructions is that each flat is a self-contained fireproof unit. A fire in one flat should not be able to spread to another - at least not quickly, and allowing time for the rest of the block to be evacuated.

Clearly something was wrong in this block. The finger of blame seems to be pointing at the new cladding. It didn't help that there was no sprinkler system and there are reports of fire alarms not working.



Admittedly it is many years ago but I cannot remember a council block I worked on that had a working fire alarm in the common parts; sure individual flats had alarms but if I recall most if not all of these were put into position by the individual tenants after many promotions by the local fire brigade after speaking at tenant meetings. As regards sprinkler systems: I have seen these removed after repeated call outs following vandalism where common parts were flooded causing great distress to tenants and damage. Glazing to fire doors was regularly smashed and it got to the point where some of these areas were unofficially "just left".

If you spoke to the long term tenants they all seem to tell the same story that they left a dilapidated and dingy old street house which got demolished and they moved into a bright spacious sky flat with "all the mod cons" that usually meant they didn't have to use an outside wc. In the early years the sense of community remained and the common parts were furnished by the tenants with plants, pictures, even chairs etc. all regularly cleaned by these same tenants with a sense of pride it seems. Then times changed: according to these same tenants (their words but the same story from each); single parents were moved into these family communities but the truth is they had no children - phantom pregnancies occurred because urine samples from pregnant friends and letters from parents saying they had thrown out their "pregnant daughter" meant the local authority had to rehouse these girls who got these now free flats and basically still lived at home with their parents and no child but used the flats as a party venue and place to stay with friends. They had no pride in their environment and slowly their party environment deteriorated as even their previously proud neighbours gave up trying. I heard this story time and time again so I am guessing there is some truth in it.

I realise this is a social issue as opposed to the previously structural items discussed; I could have told you what I had seen with my own eyes about staircases that became no go zones, covered car parks that became bombfires, lifts that became toilets and old fridges thown of 20th floor balconeys...!

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Re: An Accident waiting to happen...

Postby Constantine » Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:50 am

macliam wrote:..The cladding used has been linked to fires elesewhere. A mineral rather than plastic core is thought to be safer - both were available from the supplier, the contractor chose plastic - I suspect on cost. The contractor has said that the use of the cladding met all UK building regulations. So, building regs are obviously out of date and contractor chose on price not safety. Nobody bothered to check, it seems...


This report from the Daily Mail quotes someone who "worked as a property manager for Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council for 20 years" who states that surveyors told the council not to use the cheap stuff, but they decided otherwise. Or as she put it "It was built in the 1970s and the council didn't want to spend the money needed to bring it up to date because it would have cost so much money and taken so much work."

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... -fire.html
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Re: An Accident waiting to happen...

Postby Boro Boy » Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:54 am

Constantine wrote:
macliam wrote:Money spent tarting up a tower block by cladding the outside - meanwhile reports that the fire alarms weren't working...... and obviously the fire suppression (if it existed) was inadequate. Things that would have a company closed down, yet people young and old were housed there.

A quick makeover to increase the market value, but scrimping on the infrastructure - with the deaths now standing at almost the same number as the London terrorist attack, this needs to be a criminal investigation.


You are misinformed. Tarting up the tower block by cladding the outside (as you put it) had nothing to do with increasing market value. Grenfell Tower is council housing, The cladding was all about thermal insulation. It was a green thing.


The developers web site describes the cladding as "rain screen cladding" which although they would have also taken the opportunity to include insulation its main priority would be to stop the deterioration of the underlying concrete structure and the reinforcement by the ingress of moisture.

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Re: An Accident waiting to happen...

Postby Constantine » Thu Jun 15, 2017 12:16 pm

Boro Boy wrote:..The developers web site describes the cladding as "rain screen cladding" which although they would have also taken the opportunity to include insulation its main priority would be to stop the deterioration of the underlying concrete structure and the reinforcement by the ingress of moisture.


The cladding used in the refurbishment of Grenfell was Celotex RS5000 It's a PIR Insulation board "Designed to enhance the thermal performance of insulated façade systems" and "suitable for rainscreen cladding applications above 18 metres in height"

https://www.celotex.co.uk/products/rs5000

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Re: An Accident waiting to happen...

Postby macliam » Thu Jun 15, 2017 5:21 pm

Constantine wrote:
Boro Boy wrote:..The developers web site describes the cladding as "rain screen cladding" which although they would have also taken the opportunity to include insulation its main priority would be to stop the deterioration of the underlying concrete structure and the reinforcement by the ingress of moisture.


The cladding used in the refurbishment of Grenfell was Celotex RS5000 It's a PIR Insulation board "Designed to enhance the thermal performance of insulated façade systems" and "suitable for rainscreen cladding applications above 18 metres in height"

https://www.celotex.co.uk/products/rs5000

Whatever the product (and this one, with the polyethylene core is definitely suspect), cladding, whether for weatherproofing or insulation, is indeed a way of "tarting up" a building that needs attention. Even if not to increase the value, it is certainly to give residents a false sense that "something" structural has been done, at minimal cost.

The cladding in question has been blamed for a very serious fire in Melbourne some 3 years ago. In a report, the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade said the rapid vertical spread of the fire was “directly associated” with the external cladding..... exactly as with this one. Similar cladding was blamed for 3 major fires in Dubai. The idea of using an inflammable aluminium composite cladding on a building with only passive fire control was lunacy.

However, there are other things that need to be looked at - one of the residents tried to use a fire extinguisher, but it didn't work, the alarms didn't go off, the instructions for residents to stay in their flats led to them becoming trapped in the inferno. The fire control system was supposedly overhaule at the same time as the cladding was applied...... and another thing that was done was to upgrade the common central heating system. Somewhere along the line the passive fire control system failed and the fire spread from one flat to another and from one floor to another. How thois happened must be discovered and other similar tower blocks checked to ensure that, this time, lessons are learned.
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