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Postby Dread Archive » Mon Jun 11, 2018 6:20 pm

Last edited by Dread Archive on Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:36 am, edited 2 times in total.
Dread Archive
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Re: Grenfell

Postby Dread Archive » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:26 pm

Grenfell | Expert report cites “catastrophic” flaws

New Civil Engineer - 4th June 2018

Grenfell Tower had “multiple catastrophic fire-spread routes” which were created during cladding construction, a report has concluded.

A series of damning reports on the fire safety of Grenfell Tower have just been published as part of the ongoing inquiry into the tragedy.

Arup’s leader of fire safety engineering, Dr Barbara Lane, one of the expert witnesses in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, has released her findings. Alongside the cladding, there are a number of failures raised, including internal doors and flat front doors, a dry fire main and the lift switch to firefighter mode not working. Lane’s findings include:

“There were multiple catastrophic fire-spread routes created by the construction form and construction detailing,” regarding the rainscreen cladding system.

Consequence of cladding type and assembly meant that “any individual flat of fire origin was no longer in a separate fire rated box” and therefore a stay put strategy for residents in the event of a fire was “not a realistic basis for fire safety design in this building, as a result of the rainscreen cladding system.”

“I have found no evidence yet that any member of the design team or the construction team ascertained the fire performance of the rainscreen cladding system materials, nor understood how the assembly performed in fire. I have found no evidence that Building Control were either informed or understood how the assembly would perform in a fire.” She said she is awaiting further evidence on this issue.

The cavities which should have prevented flames spreading between floors were installed incorrectly on both horizontal and vertical levels.

The Stay Put stratergy failed one hour before the building was evacuated. There was an “early need for total evacuation of Grenfell Tower […] I am unclear about the basis for delaying the formal end of the Stay Put strategy between 01:40 and 02:47. I am particularly concerned by the delay from 02:06 when a major incident was declared, to 02:47.”

The fire originated in Flat 16, however it “could not maintain the required high degree of compartmentation due to the failure of the building envelope to adequately resist the spread of fire.”

“The single stair and lobbies, and the fire provisions therein, were not designed to create a safe escape route or safe working environment, for a multi-storey fire. The design approach for high rise residential buildings is based on inhibiting that scenario from occuring.”

“All the flat entrance fire doors (from Level 4 - 23) were non-compliant with the fire test evience relied upon at the time of the installation. […] these doors do not appear to have been upgraded since the original installation in 1972.”

The inquiry into the fire at the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in North Kensington, London, in the early hours of 14 June 2017, is split into two phases, which will run in parallel.

The first examines what actually happened in the early hours of the morning when the fire broke out. The second phase looks at the refurbishment and how the building was exposed to such a fire risk.
Last edited by Dread Archive on Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
Dread Archive
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Re: Grenfell

Postby Dread Archive » Wed Jun 13, 2018 8:43 pm

Council to take back control of Chalcots Estate following PFI collapse

InsideHousing - 11th May 2018

Camden Council is set to take back control of maintenance on the Chalcots Estate after the private finance initiative (PFI) firm, which held the contract, filed for insolvency.

Partners for Improvement in Camden (PFIC) was responsible for the 2006 refurbishment works which saw Grenfell-style cladding installed on the Swiss Cottage estate’s five tower blocks.

It also handled repairs, heating and maintenance on the estate through a number of subcontractors, with a £150m deal due to run until 2021.

The council stopped paying PFIC in November last year, after stepping in to carry out emergency fire safety work following the Grenfell Tower fire in June.

As part of that work, the council evacuated residents from the estate last June over fire safety fears, just two weeks after the Grenfell fire. The cladding was ultimately removed in January.
The work is set to bring Camden’s overall fire safety spending, since last summer, to more than £100m.

“Camden Council is stepping in again where the PFI has let us down,” said Georgia Gould, leader of Camden Council.

“Since we stepped in last year to complete emergency repairs and remove flammable cladding, we’ve been determined to do all that we can to ensure a new standard of resident safety in these blocks.

“Given the huge costs we have incurred, and in accordance with the contract, we stopped paying PFIC in November 2017 and we now anticipate that their subcontractors may stop providing repairs and maintenance services at the Chalcots Estate in the near future, following the PFIC’s decision to file for insolvency.”

United Living, the subcontractor which handled heating maintenance on the estate, ended its agreement with PFIC last Friday. Camden Council and its contractor BTU Group have taken over responsibility.

The authority told residents on Wednesday it was “preparing to take over further repairs and maintenance responsibilities at the Chalcots Estate in the coming weeks”.

Rydon currently still provides repairs and maintenance on the estate, but the council anticipates it may also choose to down tools “in the near future”.

“The company has reached the unfortunate position of having no option but to enter a liquidation process following the ongoing decision by the council to withhold payment of the unitary charge,” a spokesperson for PFIC said.

“The company is working closely with Camden Council in preparation for the handover of all repairs and maintenance arrangements currently provided by the company.”

A spokesperson for Rydon said: “Rydon continue to carry out and deliver its maintenance obligations throughout the Chalcots Estate and have invited Camden to clarify its contractual position, as Camden have stated that it has not yet agreed with Partners For Improvement to terminate the PFI contract.”

United Living confirmed that it suspended its operations on the estate due to non-payment from PFIC.
Last edited by Dread Archive on Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Grenfell

Postby Dread Archive » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:38 pm

Number of tower blocks with flammable cladding ‘more than double official figure’, RICS warns

InsideHousing - 12th June 2018

The number of tower blocks with combustible cladding could be more than double the official figure, an expert from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has warned.

Speaking at the Royal Institute of British Architects’ fire safety conference Gary Strong, director of practice standards and technical guidance at RICS, said there are many private block owners who have not disclosed aluminium cladding similar to that used on Grenfell.

He said he believed this was due to concerns over share prices and valuations.

Mr Strong said: “We know now that there are huge valuation issues in tower blocks… Certainly some of the experience we’ve had coming back from some of the banks and our valuers who’ve been looking at these is that they’ve been hugely downgraded because of the blight factor…

“Out of the 323 buildings which were in the latest MHCLG report that have ACM cladding we know that in reality it’s more like double that. In the private sector, some of those have not been properly disclosed yet, with very good reason, because it will affect their share prices.”

He added: “But valuation is a huge issue and banks are not lending. We’ve had meetings with the Treasury, with UK Finance, but also foreign investors…There’s a lot of interest in the UK, a lot of people who I meet are interested in what happened at Grenfell and what we’re doing about it. We need to address the uncertainties in the market, we need to come together as professionals to try and make sure that we learn from other countries like the United States and Canada.”

In the government’s latest figures on the number of buildings over 18 metres with ACM cladding, 138 of the 323 buildings were privately owned residential buildings including hotels and student accommodation.

Leaseholders in a number of privately owned tower blocks where the cladding has failed the government’s fire safety tests have already found the value of their flats has dramatically dropped as a result.

At New Capital Quay, in south east London, leaseholders have seen the value of their homes slashed by up to 90% and it is believed some who bought their homes with Help to Buy loans have repaid them at a fraction of their original value, leaving the government out of pocket.
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Dread Archive
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Re: Grenfell

Postby Dread Archive » Wed Jun 13, 2018 10:51 pm

Confusion and inertia block progress over tower fire safety

Thousands still live in unsafe buildings a year after Grenfell

FinancialTimes - 11th June 2018

•Work delayed by wrangling over who foots the bill
•Ministers prevaricate on banning combustible cladding
•Sprinklers and alarms seen as quick improvements

When 72 people died in a blaze at Grenfell Tower in west London last June, Theresa May promised that she would take action to reassure “those living in similar high-rise blocks”.

But almost a year after the disaster, fire safety experts, councils and architects report little progress. Thousands still live in buildings declared unsafe as work to fix the immediate dangers has been delayed by wrangling over who should pay.

It is still unclear if ministers will ban combustible cladding, which an inquiry has heard enabled the Grenfell fire to spread quickly; one expert spoke of “mass confusion” in the construction industry over what cladding is now allowed.

“We need a simple prohibition on the use of combustible cladding,” said Jane Duncan, chair of the expert advisory group on fire safety at the Royal Institute of British Architects. “Why would you allow anything combustible on the outside of a high-rise building with people sleeping in it?”

A public inquiry is continuing while a separate review of fire safety recommended an overhaul of building regulations and inspections.

But while these processes will take years, safety could be quickly improved through measures such as sprinklers, alarms and publication of risk assessments, experts said. Progress has been “desperately slow — lethargic to say the least,” said Geoff Wilkinson, a building inspector.

Only 10 public blocks have done remedial work

The inquiry into the fire has heard how the installation of Grenfell’s new facade resulted in “multiple catastrophic fire-spread routes”, according to Barbara Lane, global lead on fire engineering at Arup, the engineering consultants.

Similar aluminium composite cladding was found on nearly 300 other apartment blocks in tests after the fire.

Of those, only 10 out of 159 council and social sector buildings have completed remediation work, according to the government. After almost a year of councils complaining that they could not afford to fix the buildings they own, ministers agreed last month to transfer £400m from the affordable-housing budget.

In the private sector, 138 buildings have Grenfell-type cladding. The government has not yet collected figures on improvement works but experts said progress was slow.

A handful of developers, such as Barratt and Taylor Wimpey, are paying for improvements but most developers are not, according to Martin Boyd of the Leasehold Knowledge Partnership, which campaigns for leaseholders.

Uncertainly on what facades are allowed

James Brokenshire, secretary of state for housing, said “building owners” in the private sector should pay. But this may be unrealistic, said Mr Boyd. The freeholder of an apartment block may make £40,000 a year from ground rents while the recladding bill could total £2m. Some blocks are seeking to charge leaseholders, who have already seen the value of their homes plummet, tens of thousands of pounds each.

Improvements have also been delayed by uncertainty over what facades are now permitted, said Mark Farmer, a construction consultant and author of a previous government review into the industry. The testing programme targeted one type of cladding, but many others contain flammable plastics and existing regulations are unclear.

“There is mass confusion. Not everyone is clear what they need to be doing to make their buildings safer, and there are various buildings in a temporary state, with increased fire marshals or some sort of risk mitigation measure pending identifying what they are going to do to the building.”

Flammable cladding is not necessarily as lethal as it proved at Grenfell. For example, a 2012 fire at the Taplow tower block in Camden was contained and caused no casualties despite combustible cladding.

But Guillermo Rein, professor of fire science at Imperial College London, called for a moratorium on its use because researchers do not fully understand how facade fires spread.

“We do not have a theory based on science that can explain or predict the spread of a fire on a facade, and this is hindering the development of a solution. Yet these buildings are everywhere,” he said. “There should be a moratorium until the industry that is benefiting from this market invests in understanding what they are doing.”

Ministers plan to consult on a ban, but Ms Duncan said they should act as fast as possible. That call has been echoed by the Local Government Association, which represents councils, and the Construction Industry Council.

Half of all inspected buildings have failings

Cladding is not the only concern. The Grenfell disaster prompted fire safety checks around the country, and those carried out by fire services uncovered failings at almost half of the thousands of buildings inspected, according to freedom of information requests by Vice News. At Grenfell, other faults included inadequate fire doors and non-functioning vents.

Ms Duncan said that, while failings will take time to tackle, quick measures such as a requirement for sprinklers and central fire-alarm systems in existing high-rise blocks could bring about rapid safety improvements — though that would also incur significant costs.

Riba and the LGA have also called for an immediate ban on “desktop studies”, which allow new combinations of materials to be used without real-life testing. Mr Wilkinson said another useful measure would be publication of fire risk assessments so that residents can lobby for improvements.

Mr Rein said residents of high-rises “should not stop sleeping well” given the rarity of disasters such as Grenfell. “But they should ask questions and get answers. It’s not just about the cladding — there are six layers of protection in any building, and all six need to be looked at.”
Last edited by Dread Archive on Thu Jun 14, 2018 12:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
Dread Archive
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Re: Grenfell

Postby Dread Archive » Wed Jun 13, 2018 11:35 pm

A lot of these tower blocks are infested with Ghost Ants. Ghost Ants nest & use Electrical Magnetic Fields as highways like fridges, kettles, toasters, fuse boxes. When that happens they will short circuit the electrics & cause a fire. They are very very tiny [the little critters]. Was it really there because they are not floaters in your cup of tea. Nomadic nests can be as small as a lighter. There are loads on council estates in London & other UK cities that are infested with wwwooooooo Ghost Ants.

First of all I want to see the Grenfell & Chalcots towers Pest Control History on what pests have been reported & the action the local council has taken over the past 10 years.

We know that it has been useful for the council having Ghost Ants that have now got rid of the Pharaoh Ants.

The council get pest control & poison everyone & still the problem is there. So more poison the residents.

Permaculture For The Ghetto

Borax [which is natural washing powder fashionable 50 years ago] is the only barrier against Ghost Ants because poison don't work.

Eucalyptus for Cockroaches they don't like the smell. Put a few drops of Eucalyptus oil in a bowl of hot water then wipe down the kitchen or where ever they are !!! UURRRHHH what a horrible smell the cockroach goes. I think it's a very nice smell & there is no disputing that it is my kitchen not yours.
Dread Archive
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Re: Grenfell

Postby Tune In 2 » Sun Jun 17, 2018 11:10 pm

Tune In 2
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Re: Grenfell

Postby Ranking Glasses » Mon Jun 18, 2018 8:18 am

A lot of people are calling for the Government to ban flammable cladding immediately for obvious reasons. However, they can't because all cladding is flammable at a high enough temperature. They would have to determine the minimum temperature below which cladding should not be flammable and to legislate for it.

(Sorry but I haven't read all the previous posts.)
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