Home  5  Books  5  GBEzine  5  News  5  HelpDesk  5  Register  5  GreenBuilding.co.uk
Not signed in (Sign In)

Categories



Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

PLEASE NOTE: A download link for Volume 1 will be sent to you by email and Volume 2 will be sent to you by post as a book.

Buy individually or both books together. Delivery is free!


powered by Surfing Waves




Vanilla 1.0.3 is a product of Lussumo. More Information: Documentation, Community Support.

Welcome to new Forum Visitors
Join the forum now and benefit from discussions with thousands of other green building fans and discounts on Green Building Press publications: Apply now.




    • CommentAuthorlineweight
    • CommentTimeMay 6th 2020 edited
     
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeMay 6th 2020
     
    And nobody's particularly concerned despite a spate of similar fires because only a few people had minor injuries. It just shows quite how broken our building regs are.
    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTimeMay 6th 2020
     
    This is the video of the fire:

    pic.twitter.com/aEyzjbihPh

    Definitely Grenfell Part 2
    • CommentAuthorJonti
    • CommentTimeMay 7th 2020
     
    Posted By: djhAnd nobody's particularly concerned despite a spate of similar fires because only a few people had minor injuries. It just shows quite how broken our building regs are.


    combined with a total lack of enforcement :cry:
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeJul 13th 2020
     
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeJul 14th 2020
     
    Think this one a few days earlier is also interesting..

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jul/08/grenfell-tower-fire-engineer-did-not-look-cladding-plans


    Ashton’s role was to advise on the fire safety of the refurbishment and its compliance with building regulations, but he denied abdicating his responsibilities by not finding out about the cladding, which would later be found to have been the prime accelerant of the the 14 June 2017 blaze.

    In October 2012, architects Studio E sent him a detailed design report spelling out plans to overclad the building, possibly with aluminium panels. It included plans and sections showing how the cladding would be fixed and a detailed diagram of the build-up of the system, showing the insulation and existing building. But he did not open it.

    Ashton said he did not know about plans to clad the building and that he did not look at the designs as he was not specifically asked to. He said his decision was partly because they were “very lengthy documents”.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeJul 20th 2020
     
    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/jul/20/grenfell-firm-rydon-promised-five-times-to-appoint-fire-safety-advisers-inquiry-told

    "The builders in the disastrous Grenfell Tower refurbishment promised five times to appoint fire safety advisers but failed to do so, the inquiry into the deadly blaze at the building has heard."

    Snip

    "Rydon did hear, however, that the architect Studio E was talking to Exova, a fire engineer that had been used earlier in the design process. Lawrence said in an email to the architect: “If you are getting some free advice then great.”

    The absence of a fire engineer on the team meant the cladding panels, which the inquiry has already concluded fuelled the fatal fire, were selected without consulting a specialist fire safety consultant, Lawrence confirmed. When Rydon was selected as the main contractor, Exova was not transferred across to its team."
  1.  
    I've been reading a fair bit of the interview transcripts and I don't feel these Guardian articles do a great job of conveying the essence of what the evidence reveals. Of course they like stories which make out like this individual or that company did something shocking. There's no doubt that there are many examples of things where had individuals acted differently, things might have been different. But most people who work in the construction industry will recognise many situations that they themselves have been in. At least listening to what the various employees of Studio E and Exova have to say - a lot of what they did is quite understandable in context.

    The context is the muddle of contractual relationships and lack of clarity about who is ultimately responsible for giving the OK on safety critical specification decisions. What the individuals do is not really the point - it's the system they are forced to try and work within.

    I've not listened to all of the Rydon evidence yet, but one thing that's striking is the extent to which they were really just project managers with virtually no in-house experience or knowledge when it came to detailed construction design. They were heavily reliant on third parties for loads of important stuff and yet they according to the contract carried the responsibility. And it seems that the 'clients' (the TMO) probably did not really understand this... so they would address questions to the Rydons contract manager that he wasn't really qualified or competent to answer properly. And he wouldn't always seek advice from those who were. He was telling the client not to worry about stuff when actually they were quite right to worry about it.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeAug 4th 2020
     
    Isn't that kind of dodginess (whether through incompetence/ignorance, or commercial cynicism) what the public Building Inspectors are supposed to police? But now can't, very effectively, because deliberately (privatise, cut Red Tape) undermined by promotion of alternative, private consultant channels in parallel, and by starvation of resources. As well as, in this case owing their salaries to the same client (Kensington and Chelsea Borough) that was pressuring the contractor to cut costs by skimping.

    I've been wondering whether to submit here, an article I wrote recently. What the hell, here it is.

    ------------------------------------------

    Grenfell – Truth at last for the Building Industry

    The three-year (so far) Public Inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire disaster is at long last revealing the wilful ongoing public scandal at the heart of it.

    On the night of 14 June 2017, an electrical kitchen fire in 24-storey Grenfell Tower, a poorly ‘renovated’ block of 127 Council flats in the London Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, quickly spread to turn the whole into a Towering Inferno, burning to death or asphyxiating 72 of the mainly ethnic residents and injuring 70 more. The column of flame and toxic smoke could be seen from all over London.

    Neither the fire-spread, nor the failure of evacuation, should ever have happened. Fire is understood the world over as the biggest risk in tall buildings. After WW2, the British Fire Research Station (FRS) and Building Research Establishment (BRE) laid foundations, codified into easily understood and enforceable Building Regulations including Fire, which were adopted all over the world.

    Along with the British Standards Institute (BSI), Met Office, Ordnance Survey (OS) and others, such institutional public excellence was a major source of British prestige, influence, commercial advantage and ‘soft power’ in the world, much like China today, despite declining empire and military power. Unfortunately, the living evidence that such national benefit could come from taxpayer-funded institutions, was (and still is) an affront to a certain political ideology, and so was deliberately destroyed, sold off, in the 1980s.

    Nowadays, the rebranded privatised remains of FRS, BRE etc and the Agrément Board for testing and certifying building products, count for nothing in the world, as their income comes from pliant ‘consultancy’ to commercial firms. Public Building Regulations (including Fire) are still written as law, and public (Local Authority) Building Inspectors still operate, but weakened by numerous private consultancies alongside as an alternative channel, through which such law can be ingeniously evaded.

    The Enquiry is now revealing (as if we didn’t know) that such semi-legalised evasion of Building Regulations (especially Fire) is what happened with the out-sourced £10m Grenfell ‘renovation’ project, to shave costs for the ultra-rich Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and to improve the contractor’s profits. The public Building Inspectors, salaried to Kensington and Chelsea, could feel their backsides well covered by things like Agrément Certificates, however un-credible.

    The national privatisation and ‘deregulation’ project has for the last 35 years been sold to the voting public as removal of Red Tape, that unnecessary burden on industry (and City of London ‘liberty’). It feeds on the resentment of ‘bureaucracy’ that’s felt when a Building Inspector insists, for example, on subdivision by fire doors which seem to wreck someone’s spacious interior design concept.

    But anyone who’s been in the horror of a fire, children terrified (or worse), the stink, the ruin (thankfully, not me so far), will passionately tell you that enforced Regulations to contain and to escape from Fire, are far from Red Tape, but are something you’ll be life-changingly grateful for when the time comes. One suspects that numerous other branches of dismantled Red Tape, from healthy food, through climate, to financial cheating, were originally there for reasons equally compelling to those holders of true experience from the sharp end.

    As far as my experience at the sharp end, I find the public Building Inspectors a fantastic resource of deep local experience and technical helpfulness, still hanging in despite over-work/under-funding. While many treat them as annoyances to be outwitted, I appreciate their earnest administration of mostly important standards, only wishing that insulation/airtightness standards, for example, were much higher, and that they had powers/resources to enforce more comprehensively.

    Perhaps because I respect and enjoy the Building Inspectors as peers, I find them ready to suggest creative solutions, for example a Fire Escape route from new attic sleeping space, down stair through Kitchen/Living Room to another stair to Exit two storeys below, all without fire doors or barriers to open spaciousness, by use of a sort of smoke-detecting airbag system under the sink, which fills the room with water-mist that evaporates the heat out of any flame.

    While the Inquiry is currently naming and shaming the ‘professionals’ in the Grenfell ‘refurbishment’ who did their masters’ bidding to circumvent well established systems to contain and escape from any Fire, it must move on up to spotlight the political Leaders, the corporates and their shareholders in whose ‘interest’ such cheating is routinely part of the big-building industry. And beyond, to the mean politicians of the 1980s who set the whole enduring ethos, and the grim theorists who gave them voice – now thankfully dead.

    There must be retribution scaled to the hugeness of the manslaughter – not as revenge, but with the intention of that viral quote from early-lockdown:
    “It’s like the Planet has sent us to our rooms to think about what we’ve done.”
    Following orders, or following the herd norm, is never an excuse, is in fact the core crime, the sub-human personal failure we’re all liable to.

    Can we hope that the pandemic experience jolts enough of us back into fully-human empathy and action, into recognising and gently sidelining the sad silver-tongued sociopaths and the mad ideologues who disproportionately dominate politics and big business? Life on Earth depends on it.
  2.  
    Agree with most of that, although it might be a little unfair to Approved Inspectors many of whom I find to be dilligent and not aiming to "evade" regulations but find safe solutions based on reason rather than overly rigid interpetation of the ADs.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeAug 5th 2020 edited
     
    Absolutely - I can make another story of that - by creative familiarity not just with the ADs but with loads of source research they can be v libearating - but at Grenfell that was cynically abused. Like 'White' healing can readily be turned to Black magic. The public Building Inspectors are supposed to be the long-stop guarding against such things.
    • CommentAuthorArtiglio
    • CommentTimeAug 5th 2020
     
    All the focus on the cladding risks losing sight of the buildings historic lack of compliancewith fire safety and its general standard of management. Social housing has been given an easy ride when it comes to compliance and is seen as beyond criticism.
    The debacle is going to cost umpteen billions and cause endless grief for leaseholders and property owners, that the cladding was not fit for purpose is one thing that the fire resulted in such a loss of life is another.
    Hopefully everything will receive as much attention as the cladding.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeAug 5th 2020
     
    Posted By: Artigliothe buildings historic lack of compliancewith fire safety
    You mean there were non-compliances in the original, before the refurbishment?
    • CommentAuthorArtiglio
    • CommentTimeAug 6th 2020
     
    Yes , technically it should have had a wet riser, never did from day one, the dry riser was never going to be able to cope with a fire needing to be fought at multiple points.
    The fire safety order act came in in 2005, but as was seen there were multiple failures of fire doors and compartmentation.
    Issues with the lift arrangements.
    No real idea of who lived in the building and what their evacuation needs may have been. A stay put policy that was in no way justifiable given the lack of decent fire safety. Lack of liason with the fire and rescue service ( though i’d guess this was an arrangement of convenience, council did’nt want failings flagged up fire service did’nt want to accept that they’d turned a blind eye for years.)
    The disaster wasn’t solely about inappropriate cladding panels, the whole design was a failure along with the standard of workmanship/attention to detail.(its rife across the construction industry, whats on paper does’nt materialise on site, scottish wall ties, insulation failures/inadequacies on many sites, etc)
    Grenfell was the coming together of a huge number of inadequacies at the same time.

    Talk to a fire professional and they’ll probably suggest (if pushed) that the cause of the initial fire is actually known, the theory generally circulating is that the “old fridge freezer” was in use and plugged in via an extension lead. The extra storage required as the flat was housing 3 unrelated people (extra firdges / freezers are a give away when identifying subletting,long term visitors, lodgers ,who knows) hot night fridge working hard electrics overheated.

    Most domestic fires are related to electrical devices owned by the occupants, yet their is no legislation or duty of care placed on people/ tenants to make sure their appliances/devices are safe. Lakanal was the result of a tv catching fire. Cheap chinese iphone chargers are apparently very problematic. That does’nt excuse the building fabrics failure to contain the fire, which should never have been able to ignite the cladding from such a source. But windows weren’t fire stopped, infill panels had little if any fire resistance.

    If all the factors involved in the tradgedy get the same attention as the composition of the cladding panels the inquiry will take a decade and just about no high rise building will be considered safe without huge amounts of intrusive inspection to ensure everything has been done correctly.

    My local council is budgetting for “reprovision” of external insulation, no explanation as to why , its a bonded foam/rendered system thats on at the moment. May be unrelated but was announced as part of a fire safety review.

    The whole system is a total mess. The root of which is that modern standards are very expensive and makes traditional social housing rents impossible without huge ongoing subsidy, especially in older stock. Anything can be done well but rarely can it be done well cheaply.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeAug 6th 2020
     
    Artiglio, are you sure this isn't muddling together the building regs/fire precautions situation of Grenfell Tower as originally built, with what it was left with after recent 'refurbishment'? AIUI the refurb substantially changed internal arrangement, with 'new thinking' on means of escape etc, which was where the skimping came in. Do you really mean the tower was similarly dangerous before the refurb?
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeAug 6th 2020 edited
     
    Posted By: fostertomArtiglio, are you sure this isn't muddling together the building regs/fire precautions situation of Grenfell Tower as originally built, with what it was left with after recent 'refurbishment'?

    Tom, why don't you do a bit of research yourself to answer your questions? A quick search for grenfell dry riser confirms it did have a dry riser and that Part B required it to have a wet riser. Another search for wet riser fire regulation confirms the regs changed in 2005/6 as Artiglio said.
    • CommentAuthorArtiglio
    • CommentTimeAug 6th 2020
     
    https://assets.grenfelltowerinquiry.org.uk/documents/Dr%20Barbara%20Lane%20report%20-%20section%2019%20%28Phase%201%20-%20supplemental%29.pdf

    19.5.76

    In regard to wet riser provision.

    I’m no buildings expert , just a landlord with small blocks. At time of report i had a broken arm and plenty of time to read. The full report by Barbara Lane is quite an eye opener and i only had time to skim through the bits that looked interesting.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeAug 6th 2020
     
    Posted By: djhTom, why don't you do a bit of research yourself
    You tend to say that kinda automatically to me. I do plenty of research, freely give of it on GBF. Other things I appreciate hearing others' research - I don't think Artiglio minds being questioned?
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeAug 6th 2020
     
    Posted By: ArtiglioThe full report by Barbara Lane

    Interesting bit on p 19-10, section 19.3.26 gives a table of the lethality of PIR, phenolic and EPS in a fire.

    Tom, you should read 19.5.7-32 and 19.6.11-29 for other examples of pre-refurbishment problems.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeAug 6th 2020
     
    Posted By: fostertomYou tend to say that kinda automatically to me.

    No, I tend to say it when typing seven words into google has given me the answer after two minutes.
    • CommentAuthorArtiglio
    • CommentTimeAug 7th 2020
     
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: fostertom</cite><blockquote><cite>Posted By: djh</cite>Tom, why don't you do a bit of research yourself</blockquote>You tend to say that kinda automatically to me. I do plenty of research, freely give of it on GBF. Other things I appreciate hearing others' research - I don't think Artiglio minds being questioned?</blockquote>

    No, i don’t mind referencing what i post , it’d be good if you could take the time ( if possible) to have a read of the report, it cleverly sets out many of the issues that led to the tragedy ( withput attributing blame) quite how it stood for so many years but the fire service did not at every inspection/opportunity point out the lack of a wet riser is beyond me ( other than historical cosy arrangements) its provision alone would have made a huge difference to how the fire was tackled and the efficacy. The comments on non functioning fire door closers, points to interference by residents , but no one will flag it up. The fire risk assessment was nothing more than a pile of paper if it did not mention the lack of a wet riser and any recomendations for its provision.

    As i’ve said many times, the social housing sector is not fit for purpose when it comes to managing its stock. No one wants to make a decision there is no in house expertise, everything is subbed out and any report that comes back from a “professional” is rubber stamped with little more than a cursory glance because someone else is taking responsibility, dodging reponsibility inthis manner is a major failing in itself, but it makes it easier to climb the public sector housing ladder much more easily.

    Have a google of East Kent Housing, they even employed someone who’d left Kensington. Top jobs in social housing are a merry go round of well paid jobs for the boys/girls that play the game.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeAug 12th 2020
     
    Yeah, I see what you mean - a conversational 'Really? Are you sure?' is lazy when the reference is there to see for myself.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeAug 28th 2020
     
    • CommentAuthorJonti
    • CommentTimeAug 28th 2020
     
    It is great they are looking at new safety standards but maybe they should be making sure the current ones are enforced before the do.
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTimeAug 28th 2020 edited
     
    Indeed - what's Bldg Regs for if not this? Typical of a govt of adolescent chancers that likes to dog-whistle 'Red Tape removal' to its faithful, finds institutional overhaul too arduous, so invents new layers of ill-considered bureaucracy instead.
    • CommentAuthorArtiglio
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2020
     
    And the systems deemed to be unsafe grows wider

    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/uk/fears-2000-tower-blocks-could-have-hidden-cladding-issues/?WT.mc_id=tmgliveapp_iosshare_Av0trs43Hzp1

    ( this refers to eps and render systems)

    Explains why my local council declared it was preparing to “reprovide” insulation on its high rises.

    The costs of grenfell countrywide are going to be horrendous and yet little is said about the buildings many other failures which when combined with the poor installation of the cladding system were really the cause of the death toll rather than the aystem itself. ( had the building burnt on the outside and no one died would there really be all this fuss?)
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2020
     
    Posted By: Artigliohad the building burnt on the outside and no one died would there really be all this fuss?

    Exactly. Up the top of this page, there's a report of [yet another] major cladding fire in the UAE but nobody cares because nobody dies. If the windows in Grenfell hadn't let the fire back into the building, if there'd been sprinklers installed to put the internal fires out, if there had been proper escape routes that stayed cool and free from smoke ... any one of those would have probably prevented all the deaths.

    Cladding is just one issue. You need a whole series of failures to kill so many people.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2020
     
    This Briefing report make for grim reading..

    https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8244/


    "The question of who is responsible for paying for remedial works has been described as “a legal quagmire”"

    Indeed. One flat I'm familiar with had its lease extended in 2013 and the ground rent paid to the freeholder reduced to a peppercorn (£1 a year). The Freeholder has no powers to collect "maintenance" as that's separate and was until recently managed by a residents association. Their powers are limited in the deeds. Fortunately there is no cladding issue on the block.

    Its not clear how the Freeholder could pass on any new costs due to the proposed bill. I don't even know how they pay the insurance, certainly not from ground rent.
    • CommentAuthorlineweight
    • CommentTimeAug 30th 2020
     
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: Artiglio</cite>And the systems deemed to be unsafe grows wider

    <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/uk/fears-2000-tower-blocks-could-have-hidden-cladding-issues/?WT.mc_id=tmgliveapp_iosshare_Av0trs43Hzp1" rel="nofollow">https://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/uk/fears-2000-tower-blocks-could-have-hidden-cladding-issues/?WT.mc_id=tmgliveapp_iosshare_Av0trs43Hzp1</a>

    ( this refers to eps and render systems)
    </blockquote>

    What a badly researched/written article. When they talk about a "thin layer of concrete" they mean render?
    • CommentAuthorArtiglio
    • CommentTimeAug 31st 2020
     
    Some times its easy to forget that articles in the national press are written for the general public and to be easily digestible, yes the “thin layer of concrete” description is for those with a bit of knowledge incorrect/misleading but for joe public surely its sufficient.
    But surely the biggest error in the reporting of the “cladding scandal” is that its being seen as the main culprit for the death toll at grenfell , where as its just one of a huge number of inadequacies in the buildings construction, management and maintenance/repair/improvement.
   
The Ecobuilding Buzz
Site Map    |   Home    |   View Cart    |   Pressroom   |   Business   |   Links   
Logout    

© Green Building Press