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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.

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    • 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
    • CommentTime1 day ago
     
    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.
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