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    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2018 edited
     
    gravelld - we posted simultaneously - I agree.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2018
     
    My weekly comic did all this a few weeks back.
    https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23130830-200-internet-30-how-we-take-back-control-from-the-giants/
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeApr 28th 2018
     
    Posted By: SteamyTeahttps://www.newscientist.com/article/mg23130830-200-internet-30-how-we-take-back-control-from-the-giants/

    "To continue reading this premium article, subscribe for unlimited access."

    Plus, could we take this discussion to a separate thread, please?
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2018
     
    Agreed - who will begin?
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeMay 3rd 2018
     

    "Why are people still living in fire-trap flats? Because we tore down the ‘red tape’ "
    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/apr/16/grenfell-red-tape-regulations-cameron-government

    And who is the 'We' who have again and again voted in the red-tape strippers over the last 40yrs of UK-shrivelling?

    "Cameron boasted that the corner-cutting and revocation of many regulations on building and business would save £500 per home built: a small sum in the grand scheme of things. Weighing it against the value of a potential lost human life should be impossible."


    As far as I can tell the changes Cameron made were all about Sustainable development and green energy. I think any changes to Part B of the Building Regs in 2010 were minor.

    If we're pointing fingers I think the last big review of Part B occurred between 2004 and 2007 under Labour (Tony Blair)...

    https://www.bre.co.uk/page.jsp?id=402

    BRE was appointed by CLG (formerly ODPM) to support a review of Part B (Fire safety) of the Building Regulations. CLG published their consultation paper in July 2005 and the consultation ended on 18 November in the same year. Around 240 formal responses to the consultation were received, together with around 40 informal responses. A summary of those responses has been published on the CLG website.

    Details of the changes to Part B and the two new Approved Documents are now available on the CLG website. The changes are due to come into effect on 6 April 2007. Hard copies of these documents will also be available during January 2007.


    That page contains a list of issues addressed by the review but I couldn't immediately find any mention of cladding when I drilled down into likely sections.

    I think it's premature to point the finger at any one political party. Both are probably guilty by omission.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeMay 3rd 2018 edited
     
    What plagued Grenfell was AFAIK not changes in Part B tech requirements, but procedural relaxation
    a) allowing suppliers to self-certify novel materials and assemblies in various, often ingeniously legalistic ways in place of traditional public scrutiny/testing by BRE, Agrement/BMTrada etc (the latter having become industry-paid, not independent), and
    b) allowing contractors to pay tame Building Inspectors, self-certifying in place of traditional non-commercial Building Inspectorate.

    That sounds like Tory red-tape hunting + privatising? Can't imagine even Blairite Labour doing that.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeMay 8th 2018
     
    Grenfell Tower: fire-resistant cladding plan was dropped
    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/may/08/grenfell-tower-more-costly-fire-resistant-cladding-plan-was-dropped

    "A costed proposal to fit Grenfell Tower with panels that did not burn was dropped amid pressure from the Conservative council to slash the cost of the refurbishment ... The council’s housing arm ended up agreeing to a budget which put the cost for the plastic-filled aluminium panels and synthetic insulation which burned so fiercely at £3.5m – £200,000 more than the quote for the noncombustible materials."

    "Researchers claim the panel system used for Grenfell had a calorific value equivalent to 12,000 litres of petrol, while the insulation foam added the equivalent of almost another 20,000 litres. The foam has also been shown to release cyanide gas when it burns and it is feared this may have contributed to the death toll."
  1.  
    That Guardian article doesn't tell us anything we didn't already know as far as I can see. In fact I'm not sure what the point of it is. At an early stage of the project a different system was costed...nothing unusual there. What's of interest is the decisiin making process that led to the end result and this article sheds no light on that.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeMay 8th 2018 edited
     
    A cheaper tender was accepted which incorporated a safety-critical component which though greatly inferior, actually cost more - and because it was Design&Build procedure, no-one was reponsible for checking the proposed 'Design' as a whole for suitability, only for commercial cheapness.

    Though the architects originally presumably did design it as a whole, incl safe cladding, that overview was lost in the cheapscate D&B procedure, which falaciously assumes that contractors know better than architects how to build well but cheaper - in fact 'well' hardly comes into it, only 'cheaper'.

    Even visually you can spot a D&B scheme a mile off for its ill-considered detailing, let alone the hidden technical shortcomings - which just aren't what builders are paid to resolve - that's what architects are for, however poor many of them are at it.
  2.  
    Yes. But we already knew it was a D&B scheme. The Guardian article presents it as a simple choice between two cladding systems, one 'safe' and one 'dangerous'. Or at least that's the impression it gives and that's how it seems to be read by a lay audience where I've seen it shared elsewhere. It doesn't really explain that the choice was more to do with procurement methods, or how these procurement methods impact on what comes out the other end.
  3.  
    Also I'm not sure it's clear that the celotex based system was necessarily 'inferior' to the mineral wool based one (setting aside the clearer-with-hindsight fire safety issues). I'm guessing it may have offered a better U value? And maybe that was a factor in the decision alongside cost. Planning issues may have come into it too. We don't know the full detail of the decision making process. Articles like this make it out to be simpler than it will have been.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeMay 8th 2018 edited
     
    It may not be as nuanced as we're able to tell it should be - but the important thing right now is that a flow of urgency and justified outrage be maintained and refreshed, because so many parties would be delighted to see public attention slip away.

    Don't have to be too picky. The main point is not wrong. Keep the news breaking!
  4.  
    I don't agree; I think accuracy is important. Otherwise causes or wider arguments become easy to discredit.

    If you look into what this story is really about, you can see it's about a council doing something not in any way unusual. In choosing D&B they weren't doing anything particularly unusual. It happens with most councils. And we might say, that shows that the problems are endemic, which is the important point.

    But others would say, that shows that it's just the guardian having a go at a conservative council. There's no big story here. And use that to brush the wider issue aside.

    So, the Guardian should be writing the story in a way that's clear about where the important problems lie. I think this story fails on that count.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeMay 9th 2018
     
    I see your point
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTime4 days ago edited
     
    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/may/16/theresa-may-pledges-400m-to-remove-grenfell-style-cladding

    Also,
    "May originally opposed adding panel members alongside the existing inquiry chairman"
    but after
    "a petition, eventually signed by more than 156,000 people"
    she concedes
    "the inquiry panel will be widened to include people with the skills to examine the cultural and community reasons behind the fire, following pressure from survivors and the families of victims"

    At a ZebCAT https://www.regensw.co.uk/zebcat seminar yesterday, organisers reported that now widespread in environmental officialdom is a clarity that all the one-issue low-hanging fruits (loft insulation, boiler replacement etc) have been exhausted and in order to meet Climate Change Act obligation (reduce emissions by at least 80% of 1990 levels by 2050), no alternative to soon tackling multi-issue coercion of the owner-occupier sector, deeply dangerous electorally.

    And part of that is to give back real teeth to the enforcement of existing Building Regs in place of bendable self-certification etc (instead of ideological whitling away at 'red tape'). Grenfell is at the forefront of enlisting public support for reinstating independent Control (contrary to 40yrs of electoral support for the ideologues) and the Enquiry must be set up to keep the issue hot.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTime4 days ago
     
    Posted By: fostertomreinstating independent Control

    But we never had that. LA was/is notorious. A postcode lottery to start with and the standards they were/are supposed to apply had been captured by commercial interests, so insistence on BBA certs etc where not legally required, membership of trade organizations etc instead of DIY.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTime3 days ago edited
     
    Posted By: djhLA was/is notorious
    Meaning Local Authority? I'd say was a mixture of poor to excellent services, both within Councils and also yes
    Posted By: djhA postcode lottery
    and of course much worse now.
    Posted By: djhthe standards they were/are supposed to apply had been captured by commercial interests
    That really is recent-ish, dating from when building materials became less 'commodity' and more 'product', I'd say from the 80s, not accidentally the beginning of the privatise/get rid of red tape era. It was not so before that.
    Posted By: djhinsistence on BBA certs etc where not legally required, membership of trade organizations etc instead of DIY.
    Even more recent.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTime3 days ago
     
    Heard on Radio 4 news that the government is going to pay for new cladding on all they council and housing association places that have risky cladding.
    So that will be a long time coming.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTime3 days ago
     
    Posted By: SteamyTeaHeard on Radio 4 news that the government is going to pay for new cladding on all they council and housing association places that have risky cladding.
    So that will be a long time coming.
    But the boffin presiding over regulatory changes says no ban on combustibility, just performance testing.
    • CommentAuthorgoodevans
    • CommentTime2 days ago edited
     
    I heard the interview on Radios 4's Today Program this morning. I have to say that the impression I got was completely different to almost anyone else I have talked to during today.

    I had the impression that the "boffin" had identified that it was the system that is/was faulty - not the regulations/guidance - her assessment was that the cladding on Grenfell should never have been allowed if the according the regulations/guidance had been followed but the system nevertheless allowed it to be installed.

    Her objective is to achieve a culture change (via various methods) and not be prescriptive - and certainly not go for the simple solution of "no combustible elements on cladding". It sounds easy just to say no combustibility but I imagine allowing limited combustibility must vastly increase the materials that can be used and that what constitutes combustibility may be difficult to define.

    Prescriptive solutions tend to be narrow in scope and prevent innovation. They make easy to read headlines but often miss the opportunity to fix the core problem.

    Have a listen to the the interview - I think the interviewee was willing to talk solutions but there was only one objective from the interviewer (which was to get an admission that limited combustible components are acceptable for the day's soundbite) so we learnt little.
    • CommentAuthorgoodevans
    • CommentTime2 days ago edited
     
    interview on https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b2gsp
    time into program 2:11:30
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTime2 days ago
     
    But she did spoil it all at the end by saying she hoped the govt would ban combustible claddings as a separate measure!

    But yes, behind it all, good advice on enforcement.
    • CommentAuthorborpin
    • CommentTime2 days ago
     
    I think the 'boffin' (Dame Judith Hackitt) has received a great deal of unwarranted coverage and criticism from often uniformed and, dare I say, stupid people especially politicians.

    The report has been published here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-review-of-building-regulations-and-fire-safety-final-report and the summary is here https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/707792/Building_a_Safer_Future_-_foreword_and_summary.pdf (and an interesting read)

    On cladding, what the report said is "The debate continues to run about whether or not aluminium cladding is
    used for thermal insulation, weather proofing, or as an integral part of the fabric, fire safety and integrity of the building. This illustrates the siloed thinking that is part of the problem we must address. It is clear that in this type of debate the basic intent of fire safety has been lost."

    Quite rightly, she did not decide whether it should or should not be banned; that was not her remit.

    I see this as the key conclusion / recommendation from the report;
    "This report recommends a very clear model of risk ownership, with clear responsibilities for the Client, Designer, Contractor and Owner to demonstrate the delivery and maintenance of safe buildings, overseen and held to account by a new Joint Competent Authority (JCA)."

    One of the reasons that safety in general has improved, is because in most areas, there are clear lines of responsibility in managing the risk. That does not exist with buildings. To a large extent, the HSE is successful in improving safety, because it can heavily prosecute and hold those who should be managing the risk to account. If those responsible for the building can be held to account, that will naturally improve the system that governs buildings.

    My one concern is where companies will be setup simply to build a building, then get dissolved. It will have to be personal responsibility, not corporate.
    • CommentAuthorborpin
    • CommentTime2 days ago
     
    Final Word on this, unfortunately, 72 people lost their lives because of the fire in Grenfell Tower. Last year, unfortunately, 1,710 people lost their lives in road deaths. I do not hear any calls for the banning of motor vehicles. A large part of the intent for the refurbishment, I am sure, was energy efficiency to reduce CO2 emissions and so potentially save millions of lives (every little helps).

    It is highly likely the risk was not understood, the design was poor and the implementation was poor but as Trin Tragula's wife was always telling him, "get a sense of proportion". (I'll put my flame proof coat on - pun intended).
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTime2 days ago edited
     
    Posted By: borpin1,710 people lost their lives in road deaths
    The point is, that's not because of sloppy non-enforcement and conivance by deliberately, ideologically undermined, weakened and commercialised regulatory institutions.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTime21 hours ago
     
    Posted By: borpinI do not hear any calls for the banning of motor vehicles.


    or even for fitting them with biometric or alcohol sensors to prevent banned or drunk drivers.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSteamyTea
    • CommentTime10 hours ago
     
    Could be because that is such a small problem that it is not worth the effort.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTime8 hours ago
     
    Interesting, somehow (not sure why) that in
    https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2018/may/20/mapleton-crescent-wandsworth-london-high-rise-built-bedfordshire-prefab
    the cladding went on separately, on site (see the time-lapse video) - no mention why, in the article.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTime4 hours ago edited
     
    Posted By: fostertomthe cladding went on separately, on site (see the time-lapse video) - no mention why, in the article

    Probably a very mundane reason, such as avoiding surface damage to the cladding whilst erecting the building. Or maybe it doesn't align exactly with the storeys or the vertical joints between units or something. It may well cover the joints, for example.

    edit: nice looking building, though and a nice cladding material.
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