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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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    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeSep 9th 2019
     
    Was that recent fire in London in a timber framed block of flats? there seems to be nothing left of it.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-49630496
  1.  
    I was wondering the same. Some of the photos show what looks like the remnants of a steel frame but I think it might just be the external structure that supported the balconies.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeSep 10th 2019 edited
     
    https://www.bdonline.co.uk/news/dont-demonise-timber-framed-buildings-architects-react-to-worcester-park-fire/5101559.article

    β€œThe RIBA has consistently argued for sprinklers to be a requirement in all new and converted residential buildings, and to be retrofitted in existing residential buildings above 18m when they are being refurbished. This fire demonstrates the need for sprinklers in residential buildings, and fire warning systems in individual flats, not just in communal parts. However, while important, sprinklers should not be used to compensate for other crucial fire safety measures.”

    https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/news/major-blaze-at-jtp-housing-block-in-south-west-london/10044248.article#comments

    https://www.jtp.co.uk/projects/the-hamptons

    https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/sprinklers-and-other-fire-safety-measures-in-new-high-rise-blocks-of-flats
    • CommentAuthorborpin
    • CommentTimeSep 10th 2019
     
    You have got to think the basic design must be flawed to allow the spread like that. What ever happened to compartmentalization?

    I do agree about sprinklers. I looked into it when I built but the regs were so focused on commercial it was not a practical option. My next build will be much simpler so I definitely will try and incorporate sprinklers.

    There was an item a while ago about a town in the US that had made sprinklers part of the building code over 30 years ago and since then there had not been a single death in a building built to that code.
    • CommentAuthorlineweight
    • CommentTimeSep 10th 2019
     
    Posted By: borpinYou have got to think the basic design must be flawed to allow the spread like that. What ever happened to compartmentalization?


    Yes indeed!
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTimeSep 10th 2019
     
    Posted By: borpinYou have got to think the basic design must be flawed to allow the spread like that. What ever happened to compartmentalization?

    We don't know whether it was the design or the implementation that was flawed, and even if it was the design perhaps it met the regs as the designers claim, so the bulk of the blame should attach to the regulators, although I think there's a case to be made for penalising everybody involved, to encourage people to actively look for and report problems, whether it's their job or not. It shouldn't be possible to walk away from safety issues.
    • CommentAuthorlineweight
    • CommentTimeSep 10th 2019
     
    I quite like reading reports produced by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch partly because (don't tell anyone) I'm a bit of a rail enthusiast on the side, and partly just because they are always very well written, carefully setting out all the things that lead to an accident occurring. The focus of their reports is never to assign blame as such - it's to make clear what went wrong and suggest how similar things can be prevented in the future.

    They are always quite educational on the point of multiple small things being done wrongly (or, simply not being done when they should have been) adding up to a big thing going wrong as a result. Or, people assuming that other people have done things, or that someone saying something meant something other than what was intended. I always find that interesting.

    I wonder if the building industry could have something similar. So, each time there is eg. a fire such as this, a report of that kind is written and actively circulated to everyone in the industry - designers, manufacturers, specifiers, builders, inspectors and regulators.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTime7 days ago
     
    πŸ‘
    •  
      CommentAuthorfostertom
    • CommentTime7 days ago
     
    I believe Wales already has spriklers for all newbuild.

    What about the much cheaper and less damaging alternative - spray mist https://plumis.co.uk/Residential-fire-suppression ?
    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTime7 days ago
     
    Wasn't it built to an American style with, dare I say it, cladding on the outside?
    • CommentAuthorborpin
    • CommentTime7 days ago
     
    Posted By: Jeff Bcladding on the outside?
    The photo looked like wood lapped cladding. You can see from the photos it didn't seem to do a Grenfell.

    Posted By: lineweightI quite like reading reports produced by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch
    It is the AAIB (or the Military version) reports for me. All of these organisations press their 'no blame' credentials very hard as was shown in the Clutha Pub crash.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTime7 days ago
     
    It would be nice to have something similar to the boards that investigate air, rail or maritime accidents for buildings but it would require a major change of culture and I think it is perhaps too difficult.

    As I see it, the problem is the sheer number of events and organizations involved, together with the way liability is assigned. In the case of the transport boards, there are relatively few organizations involved and they are typically quite large. They have professional staff, carry insurance and have their own financial resources as well.

    But building disasters are sadly quite common and can involve many different organizations: builders, designers, occupiers, regulators, suppliers etc of which some are quite often small firms or individuals, who may or may not still be in business or carry insurance etc. So it's a lot more difficult to create a no-blame culture that all parties are willing and able to stick to. If I lived in a flat that burned down, the first thing I would want is redress and that involves blame allocation.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTime7 days ago
     
    I think the problem is the long pathway from identifying the cause of a fire to changes in legislation.

    The fire service perform an initial investigations of fires and for years have been calling for changes. If a more detailed investigation is required there are Fire Investigation Teams in most counties..

    https://www.northyorksfire.gov.uk/about-us/what-we-do/fire-investigation-team

    "Information from investigations is used to inform and develop safety strategies, targeting those identified as the most vulnerable groups in our society. Lessons learned from investigations of fires, and in particular those with accidental causes, are also passed on to other agencies including the Local Authority, Trading Standards, Health and Safety Executive and Her Majesty's Coroners".

    Info then has to go through somewhere like the BRE..

    https://www.bregroup.com/services/research/fire-research/

    "With more than fifty years of experience in research and fire investigation, and one of the largest and most advanced fire experimental facilities in the UK"

    They may also make recommendations to government who may or may not take any notice.

    Perhaps it would be better if a body such as the BRE were made responsible for changes to Approved Document Part B with the government providing input rather then the other way around?
    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTime7 days ago
     
    Timber cladding on a timber frame building? Not one I would fancy living in, especially a block of flats where you are not directly in control as you would be in your own home.
    • CommentAuthorborpin
    • CommentTime7 days ago
     
    Posted By: Jeff BTimber cladding on a timber frame building?
    Exactly what my next build will be (if I ever get the chance to build it...).
  2.  
    Posted By: djh
    As I see it, the problem is the sheer number of events and organizations involved, together with the way liability is assigned. In the case of the transport boards, there are relatively few organizations involved and they are typically quite large. They have professional staff, carry insurance and have their own financial resources as well.


    I'm sure that's true to an extent but (in the case of the rail ones) sometimes the accident reports reveal more layers of subcontracting, etc, than you might expect. They seem to have stricter procedures for certain people having certain responsibilities for safety etc but the network of people involved in things like maintenance work can be quite complex, and the reports often highlight the problems that result from that.
    •  
      CommentAuthordjh
    • CommentTime7 days ago
     
    Posted By: borpin
    Posted By: Jeff BTimber cladding on a timber frame building?
    Exactly what my next build will be (if I ever get the chance to build it...).

    I think if I was building a block of flats, I might take a different approach to a one or two storey house. I was a bit surprised that the cladding was actual timber rather than cement-based reproductions, for example.

    The emphasis in fire regulations for timber all seems to be about the spread of fire, which is fine as a means to provide time for people to escape but doesn't really help to preserve a building. Well all except the dimensioning of structural timbers to allow for sufficient strength to be retained after surface charring. If I was going to use a lot of timber cladding, I would consider the use of charred timber (shou sugi ban) to reduce the fire risk.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTime7 days ago
     
    If they were 4 storey most of it will be below 18m. The fire regs for buildings below 18m are very lax compared to over 18m.
    • CommentAuthorJeff B
    • CommentTime7 days ago
     
    <blockquote><cite>Posted By: borpin</cite><blockquote><cite>Posted By: Jeff B</cite>Timber cladding on a timber frame building?</blockquote>Exactly what my next build will be (if I ever get the chance to build it...).</blockquote>

    As I said, not so bad if it's your own individual property where you know the risk of fire and are in control of what goes on, but for a block of flats.....uhm, no thanks.
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