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Point Break

The Boys Have Quite a Fire in London

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They won't be putting that out........it will burn till it runs out of things to burn. 

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yeah just saw this online a few mins ago.  Looks terrible. Towering inferno in real life. Any reports speculating what caused it? Haven't linked to that BBC report yet. Just saw Australian ABC article on it and no mention of cause.

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I find it interesting to notice that this fire must've started hours ago yet only appeared on news online about an hour ago. 

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Yikes!

Off topic, but I just noticed BBC's video volume goes up to 11. Nice touch.

Back on topic, I hope everyone is safe, though I don't know how that could be possible. Scary stuff.

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How can that even happen in a modern tower?

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They haven't had 20+ story towers in London all that long. It was a very low rise city until late in the 20th century.

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How can it not happen?

 

Someone dries some clothes by the heater, someone cooking chips on the stove, someone smoking on bed. All it takes is that someone to be distracted or fall asleep.

The amount of crap people have would burn with some heat. Add in more crap on the floor above.

 


Maybe I'm paranoid but, things like this don't surprise me. If anything, I expect it.

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High rise fires are tough and frustrating critters. The combustible building cladding will be interesting to follow. I had a fire where one of the primary means of fire spread upward from floor to floor was the combustible exterior cladding. I vividly remember looking at the exterior burning upward thinking "you gotta be f*^%ing kidding me!"

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35 minutes ago, Point Break said:

High rise fires are tough and frustrating critters. The combustible building cladding will be interesting to follow. I had a fire where one of the primary means of fire spread upward from floor to floor was the combustible exterior cladding. I vividly remember looking at the exterior burning upward thinking "you gotta be f*^%ing kidding me!"

Quote

Matt Wrack, of the Fire Brigades Union said something had clearly gone badly wrong with fire prevention procedures at the building.

Firefighters would normally fight a fire in a tower block from the inside, going up the fire escape, and fighting using the internal dry-rising mains, he said, but that's not been possible in this case.

This is rather shocking!

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9 minutes ago, mad said:

This is rather shocking!

I will find it professionally interesting what built in fire protection systems existed and whether they functioned. You can only fight the fire from the inside.

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No sprinkler system installed, apparently.

The final toll will be awful.

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10 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

How can that even happen in a modern tower?

only thing modern is that it was a "modern slum"  refugees etc..  the numbers are going to be high...   landlord is going to have some explaining to do..         I'm betting open fire..

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This is not a good situation.

"Sadly I can confirm there are now 12 people that have died that we know of. This is going to be a long and complex recovery operation and I do anticipate that the number of fatalities will sadly increase beyond those 12," London Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy told reporters in the early evening.

"I don't anticipate there will be further survivors."
 
The London Fire Brigade said it had rescued 65 people from the building and had now reached all 24 floors, though firefighters were yet to extinguish small flames in hard to reach pockets. It is unclear how many people are still unaccounted for.

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53 minutes ago, dreaded said:

only thing modern is that it was a "modern slum"  refugees etc..  the numbers are going to be high...   landlord is going to have some explaining to do..         I'm betting open fire..

There has been a long dispute over fire safety at the building with residents even forming a committee to lobby for improvements. I think I read that was formed in 2010. They have been predicting dire consequences and that only that situation would move the building owner to make the necessary improvements. The old suspicious fire cause and origin guy in me had my ears perk up at that "prediction". It will be interesting to follow.

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5 minutes ago, stuck in the middle said:

I live on the 41st floor in a 2 bedroom condo. My unit has 11 sprinklers.  

Sprinklers, Pressurized Stairwells and Fire/Smoke Separations work unbelievably well.

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40279944

 

WTF!

 

Quote

The block - which was built in 1974 - did not have a sprinkler system. 

Under current law, all new residential blocks over 30m high must have sprinkler systems fitted. 

There is no legal requirement for local authorities to retrofit sprinklers to tower blocks.

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22 minutes ago, mad said:

Not uncommon here in the US either. There is a remarkable amount of opposition from the various owners and their "representatives". We have found any retroactive sprinkler ordinances almost impossible to get passed. New construction in multi family dwellings is hard enough to get passed.....new construction in single family homes even harder. Heck it took us almost 20 years to get non-combustible roof ordinances in wild land interface areas...and thats a no-brainer. Even those were new construction and a real fight for retroactive of existing.

Its about $$$. "Who do you expect to pay for this!!" "If I have to pay for retro sprinklers I'll have to raise the rents significantly and where will your poor people live then?"

I've heard them all..............

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14 minutes ago, Point Break said:

Not uncommon here in the US either. There is a remarkable amount of opposition from the various owners and their "representatives". We have found any retroactive sprinkler ordinances almost impossible to get passed. New construction in multi family dwellings is hard enough to get passed.....new construction in single family homes even harder. Heck it took us almost 20 years to get non-combustible roof ordinances in wild land interface areas...and thats a no-brainer. Even those were new construction and a real fight for retroactive of existing.

Its about $$$. "Who do you expect to pay for this!!" "If I have to pay for retro sprinklers I'll have to raise the rents significantly and where will your poor people live then?"

I've heard them all..............

I hope there're prison terms handed out for this!!

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3 hours ago, Point Break said:

Not uncommon here in the US either. There is a remarkable amount of opposition from the various owners and their "representatives". We have found any retroactive sprinkler ordinances almost impossible to get passed. New construction in multi family dwellings is hard enough to get passed.....new construction in single family homes even harder. Heck it took us almost 20 years to get non-combustible roof ordinances in wild land interface areas...and thats a no-brainer. Even those were new construction and a real fight for retroactive of existing.

Its about $$$. "Who do you expect to pay for this!!" "If I have to pay for retro sprinklers I'll have to raise the rents significantly and where will your poor people live then?"

I've heard them all..............

Re: single residential homes - a friend just did a "down to the frame" reno (essentially new construction) and to put sprinklers in would have cost more than $40K.

Extrapolate that across all the houses being built and the cost to society is ridiculous. I'll take my chances with alarms.

High rises and other multi unit housing is an entirely different matter.

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New construction here requires sprinklers with few exceptions. Developers seem to have adapted and houses are "market priced". One issue is houses outside of planned subdivisions are generally on wells and the sprinkler systems require power to move water. No mains pressure. 

I just pulled a permit for a major renovation and new garage. Sprinklers not required. Going to ask the builder for a quote anyway. We are about 8 miles from the firehouse and 1/2 mile from the Fire main so setting up a pumper and using river water is the option and that takes time. Anything more than a contained fire will likely take it all. 

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alucobest ?Aluminium composite cladding? newly fitted in refurb? havent their been a couple of tower buildings gone clad in this stuff over the last three years?

Bloody horrible...someone will pay for this..but not enough ..soulds and looks similar to this fire in 2015..fortunately no one hurt.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/property/docklands-tower-blaze-exposes-dirty-secret-of-cheap-cladding/news-story/bdfe1856c4955b3da453bbea543cfd2b

The cause of the $5 million blaze was an unextinguished cigarette on the eighth-floor balcony, but the report found that once the cladding caught fire it took less than 11 minutes for the blaze to spread up the side of the apartment complex to the 21st floor.

The MFB report said the burn pattern of the blaze was unusual and “not a scenario commonly ­encountered” by crews attending high-rise fires.

“Rapid vertical fire spread up the building appeared to be directly associated with the external facade of the building, rather than associated with the internal parts or extensive fuel loads stored on many of the balconies,” it says.

The aluminium composite panel cladding, called Alucobest, commonly used in high-rise apartment buildings in the past 10 years, is imported from China and is significantly cheaper than the more fire-retardant and non-combustible Australian-made Alucobond, which complies with safety and fire standards.

Testing of the Alucobest cladding from the Lacrosse building found it was in breach of the combustibility requirements under the Building Code of Australia.

Industry experts claim only an invasive test can reveal the difference between the cheaper Aluco­best and Alucobond cladding because they look, feel and smell exactly the same.

 

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26 minutes ago, ease the sheet said:

Surely the Falklands put payed to the aluminium and fire issue?

Not much crossover between the MOD ship regs and building regs I'm guessing.

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10 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

Re: single residential homes - a friend just did a "down to the frame" reno (essentially new construction) and to put sprinklers in would have cost more than $40K.

Extrapolate that across all the houses being built and the cost to society is ridiculous. I'll take my chances with alarms.

High rises and other multi unit housing is an entirely different matter.

That sounds awfully high for what you describe. Costs inationally in US n new construction are estimated at around $1.35-$1.60 a square foot. Retrofits during remodels that are not tear downs to frame can indeed be quite expensive though. I've heard of cost estimates that high in VERY large homes i.e.10,000 square feet. I completely understand someone who makes the economic decision to forego that cost in a remodel.

However, "cost to society"? You only have to be at just a couple fires where people lost family members to have a decidedly different view of that.

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4 hours ago, Innocent Bystander said:

New construction here requires sprinklers with few exceptions. Developers seem to have adapted and houses are "market priced". One issue is houses outside of planned subdivisions are generally on wells and the sprinkler systems require power to move water. No mains pressure. 

I just pulled a permit for a major renovation and new garage. Sprinklers not required. Going to ask the builder for a quote anyway. We are about 8 miles from the firehouse and 1/2 mile from the Fire main so setting up a pumper and using river water is the option and that takes time. Anything more than a contained fire will likely take it all. 

If the cost for the whole house is excessive you might consider doing just areas of the home prone to fires and delayed discovery. 46% of fires in homes are related to cooking, often unattended. Garage fires often have delayed discovery and reporting allowing the fire to gain substantial headway before any intervention. If you do not smoke, your chances of having a fire originating in the other living areas of the house is much much lower.

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Garage will be detached (by about 80 ') so is an obvious candidate.  Roof will be raised over about 1/2 the house including kitchen so rafters will be open to install beams and reroute HVAC and new plumbing.  Should be straightforward to add sprinklers in that area. No smokers in the household and visitors get to smoke only on the deck so kitchen and adjacent boiler room probably the 2 high risk areas in the main house. LR has a vent free gas fireplace but it is only used when occupied. 

 

Back to Kensington. I see the death toll up to 17 and expected to continue to climb. Unbelievable that sprinklers were not a required upgrade in the recent renovation.  High rise without a sprinkler system is unfathomable. 

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9 minutes ago, Innocent Bystander said:

Garage will be detached (by about 80 ') so is an obvious candidate.  Roof will be raised over about 1/2 the house including kitchen so rafters will be open to install beams and reroute HVAC and new plumbing.  Should be straightforward to add sprinklers in that area. No smokers in the household and visitors get to smoke only on the deck so kitchen and adjacent boiler room probably the 2 high risk areas in the main house. LR has a vent free gas fireplace but it is only used when occupied. 

 

Back to Kensington. I see the death toll up to 17 and expected to continue to climb. Unbelievable that sprinklers were not a required upgrade in the recent renovation.  High rise without a sprinkler system is unfathomable. 

Sounds smart on the reno plans. 

Code exceptions for existing/non-conforming....even in multi family are not uncommon in US. Unfortunately. Some codes carry a % renovation clause to trigger sprinkler installation. We had a couple 20 story high rise buildings in a retirement community filled with elderly. Pretty robust construction so we were able to get sprinklers in each unit, 1 in kitchen and one in entryway. Also sprinklers in hallways and fire doors. Idea is to confine any fires to unit of origin. No way you're gonna evacuate 20 floors of semi ambulatory elderly folks. Our strategy was shelter in place and aggressive fire attack. Worked pretty well on a couple fires I had there but smoke management is still a problem.

i have no idea how the codes works in England.

 

 

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Mr pb, how effective would sprinklers be in a stairwell? My thinking is the sprinklers would make the stairwell (and only exit point) safer. It would allow those that made it to the stairwell an avenue to escape. Would sprinklers keep any smoke down?

Seems a full retrofit of sprinklers might be too expensive but if the escape route could be made and maintained safe, it would be money well spent.

 

It would give those that are above and not directly effected by the fire a way to push past the floors where the fire has taken hold.

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40 minutes ago, ease the sheet said:

Mr pb, how effective would sprinklers be in a stairwell? My thinking is the sprinklers would make the stairwell (and only exit point) safer. It would allow those that made it to the stairwell an avenue to escape. Would sprinklers keep any smoke down?

Seems a full retrofit of sprinklers might be too expensive but if the escape route could be made and maintained safe, it would be money well spent.

 

It would give those that are above and not directly effected by the fire a way to push past the floors where the fire has taken hold.

I wouldn't say sprinklers are not helpful in a stairwell but they are less critical than in living areas. They won't manage smoke in the stairwell at all, contrary to what it might seem it doesn't "push the smoke down" except right where the sprinkler head is discharging and even that affect is limited. Additionally, there really is nothing to burn in stairwells so fire suppression isn't a critical issue and I've not seen a well maintained stairwell contribute to upward fire spread. In my experience that occurs from floor penetrations (pipe and electrical chases) and exterior lapping - or fire blowing out a window/balcony in such volume that it reenters the structure through the window/balcony on the floor above. However, you are right maintaining the integrity of the stairwell not only as a means of egress but ingress for firefighting forces is critical to a good outcome. That is best accomplished by hardening the stairwell. That means isolating it physically with "fire proof" construction between the living areas and the stairwell, automatic closing fire doors into the stairwell, and pressurizing the stairwell so smoke does not easily enter the stairwell from the fire floor when the door is opened. So long as the doors are not propped open those are pretty effective measures. At the very least, a hatch at the top of the stairwell triggered to open automatically with a fire alarm will at least keep any smoke from building and banking down such that the experience people had where the smoke was so thick they couldn't see is minimized. You can transit a stairwell lightly smoked and live. You are in trouble if its thick and zero visibility. The smoke will take you out before you can get out.

Tactically, we prefer more than one stairwell so we can put firefighting forces up in one and egress or evacuation down in another. That is because once you make entry to the fire floor through one and thus the doors are propped open with hose lines you are going to contaminate that stairwell with smoke, even a pressurized stairwell, if you have any size fire on that floor. In actual application it rarely goes that smoothly but that is the desire anyway. In reality you'll have some time to evacuate folks before you can get hose lines in operation above ground floor. In my experience, from arrival to fire attack which means hauling the hose and equipment up the stairwell, getting the hose hooked up and deployed and making entry to the fire floor with 4 firefighters and one hose line......anything above the 5th floor is going to take about 15 minutes. As a general planning rule I add another 5 minutes to that for every 10 floors above the 5th. To mount a really well equipped and staffed firefighting effort against a significant fire above 10 floors is going to take at least 30 minutes from arrival of first unit.If there is a significant rescue problem its going to take much longer because rescue work eats staffing and reduces the amount of work you can get done to mount a fire attack. So.....you have some time for folks to self evacuate as you get set up. 

 

Sorry to bore you with the book..............I got carried away..............

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Modern stairwells are all that listed above, pressurized, closers and the like, plus many have a vestibule between the actual stairwell and the building core. This where the crews operate so as not to affect the integrity of the stairwell. Thus allowing smooth (ha!) egress for occupants.

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latest assumption that the alum cladding was a sandwhich with flammable foam..   or that fire safe insulation was not used behind it..   and get this, the cladding was added so that slum highrise would look better for the very wealthy neighbors..

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12 minutes ago, bmiller said:

Modern stairwells are all that listed above, pressurized, closers and the like, plus many have a vestibule between the actual stairwell and the building core. This where the crews operate so as not to affect the integrity of the stairwell. Thus allowing smooth (ha!) egress for occupants.

I've heard of those. That's a great addition. Unfortunately, we don't have any "new" high rises! :lol:

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Hey B Miller, never having seen one of those vestibule arrangements.....is the standpipe hookup inside the vestibule?

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Yes it is. Also isolation valves for the sprinkler system on that floor. That way you can shut down the affected floor and leave the rest of the building live.

 

Leaving country for a couple weeks today, have fun all.

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2 hours ago, bmiller said:

Yes it is. Also isolation valves for the sprinkler system on that floor. That way you can shut down the affected floor and leave the rest of the building live.

 

Leaving country for a couple weeks today, have fun all.

That is way cool.

 

And enjoy your trip.

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This morning's BBC item included a police report that at least 30 people are known to have died, and that this total will probably increase.

A criminal investigation is under way.

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Criminal politicians and/or bureaucrats are involved somewhere in this tragedy.

Anyone taking bets on zero consequences to them?

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The real question is what are they going to do with the countless other buildings in the area that are in the same condition. My guess is not much

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2 minutes ago, dorado said:

The real question is what are they going to do with the countless other buildings in the area that are in the same condition. My guess is not much

No, they won't but several people will change their Facebook profile to something sad about it for a while, politicians will look sad, a special study will be commissioned which will take a year. By then everybody will have have changed their profiles pictures back and the politicians will have moved on. The study will get tossed into the stack of studies. 

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19 minutes ago, Point Break said:

No, they won't but several people will change their Facebook profile to something sad about it for a while, politicians will look sad, a special study will be commissioned which will take a year. By then everybody will have have changed their profiles pictures back and the politicians will have moved on. The study will get tossed into the stack of studies. 

You seen that movie before, huh ?

No wonder us old farts get so cynical.

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40 minutes ago, dorado said:

You seen that movie before, huh ?

No wonder us old farts get so cynical.

When I was a young one, I enthusiastically volunteered for several work group/committees to fix things like this. After several cycles I came to understand the purpose of the study/committee wasn't to fix things. 

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It's Britain, not America. Things will actually happen. Heads will roll, compensation will be paid and remedial action will be taken. It will never happen again.

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Have we blamed a radical islamist yet?

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1 hour ago, ease the sheet said:

It's Britain, not America. Things will actually happen. Heads will roll, compensation will be paid and remedial action will be taken. It will never happen again.

We'll see. My point wasn't whether that owner/management would be held accountable. It was in response to Dorado's comment about whether anything will change in the similar/identical buildings throughout the country that stand under the same codes with the same risk.....still......today. Any idea how many buildings we're talking about? How much $$ to improve the fire safety. Will they tear the flammable exterior coating off the buildings it's installed on. I bet not. 

BTW

http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/05/us/oakland-ghost-ship-warehouse-fire-charges/index.html

 

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1 hour ago, dorado said:

I don't know. 

Do they smoke in bed ?

They smoke just a little bit...... Right before they explode.

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Sad to see that happen. CBC has a story today regarding the cladding. http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/london-fire-grenfell-tarling-expert-1.4163560

I can see this will happen in Canada with some rainscreened buildings. If there is not thruwall flashing on each floor, the fire will rip to the attic, on our current 3 story condo. This detail is often omitted with horizontal siding. There is also no trim at the soffit to stop the flame torching the roof ply many times. Envelope engineers frequently miss this stuff. A kid could literally light the tyvek on the bottom of the building, watch the fibreglass bug mesh melt and away it goes. Hardi falling off from poor fasteners, hot sun expansion and overdriving. Some rainscreens have SM or korolite foam as exolation. Newer ones use a fireproof dense batt.

Very interesting to read the first response replies.

Cheers

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2 hours ago, Mrleft8 said:

They smoke just a little bit...... Right before they explode.

Zing! 

8 goes yard.

I figured Silent Bob would be all over that high hanging curveball .

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3 hours ago, Point Break said:

We'll see. My point wasn't whether that owner/management would be held accountable. It was in response to Dorado's comment about whether anything will change in the similar/identical buildings throughout the country that stand under the same codes with the same risk.....still......today. Any idea how many buildings we're talking about? How much $$ to improve the fire safety. Will they tear the flammable exterior coating off the buildings it's installed on. I bet not. 

BTW

http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/05/us/oakland-ghost-ship-warehouse-fire-charges/index.html

 

It's public housing owned by the local council and run by a board that includes council and tenant representatives.

 

Britain has tendencies that would be described as communistic and socialistic by most Americans (forgive my very broad generalizing). The costs vs service ratio is heavily biased towards service.

 

My uneducated guess is the tender for the refurb was the cheapest, but the quality expected was of a suitable standard. The workmanship in the refurb met that same standard. The material used in the refurb is where I put the question mark, and I suspect that the material used was 'assumed' to be of that same standard, i.e., cheap but suitable. I doubt negligence will be found to be a factor.

 

It sucks for those that have some personal involvement in this, but a lesson will be learned and fastidiously applied.

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22 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

Criminal politicians and/or bureaucrats are involved somewhere in this tragedy.

Anyone taking bets on zero consequences to them?

With the level of anger about this, there may well be a riot if they try and sweep this under the carpet. 

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10 hours ago, ease the sheet said:

It's public housing owned by the local council and run by a board that includes council and tenant representatives.

 

Britain has tendencies that would be described as communistic and socialistic by most Americans (forgive my very broad generalizing). The costs vs service ratio is heavily biased towards service.

 

My uneducated guess is the tender for the refurb was the cheapest, but the quality expected was of a suitable standard. The workmanship in the refurb met that same standard. The material used in the refurb is where I put the question mark, and I suspect that the material used was 'assumed' to be of that same standard, i.e., cheap but suitable. I doubt negligence will be found to be a factor.

 

It sucks for those that have some personal involvement in this, but a lesson will be learned and fastidiously applied.

Quote

The contract to improve insulation and replace heating and water systems in the block was supposed to be carried out by building firm Leadbitter, but the contractor said it could not do the work for less than £11.27 million, £1.6 million above the council’s budget.

The Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation - which maintained the council's housing stock - put the contract back out to tender and Rydon said they could carry out for £8.7 million, 22 per cent less than Leadbitter’s original estimation, even though the plans did not change.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/16/grenfell-tower-refurbishment-used-cheaper-cladding-tenants-accused/

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12 hours ago, ease the sheet said:

It's public housing owned by the local council and run by a board that includes council and tenant representatives.

 

Britain has tendencies that would be described as communistic and socialistic by most Americans (forgive my very broad generalizing). The costs vs service ratio is heavily biased towards service.

 

My uneducated guess is the tender for the refurb was the cheapest, but the quality expected was of a suitable standard. The workmanship in the refurb met that same standard. The material used in the refurb is where I put the question mark, and I suspect that the material used was 'assumed' to be of that same standard, i.e., cheap but suitable. I doubt negligence will be found to be a factor.

 

It sucks for those that have some personal involvement in this, but a lesson will be learned and fastidiously applied.

I've never heard Britain described as communistic here....perhaps some socialistic influences. Anyway, from what little I have read negligence seems it will be very specifically an important factor. While the cladding is getting a lot of attention and whether that was a legal or wise choice will get sorted out. However while the cladding looks to have contributed to fire spread (especially the installation method), it didn't start the fire nor did it hamper evacuation except in the context it may have allowed a more rapid fire spread. But it didn't cause the fact there was only one stairwell and whether that stairwell was suitably protected as the sole evacuation route. I do not know the construction of that stairwell or the status of the other built in fire protection/alerting systems, but if the tenet "Action Group" is to be believed, the issue is the culmination of a history of fire safety problems and the failure of the management company and ultimately the owner to address those. If those issues were in violation of existing codes then the negligence is in the lack of enforcement. If the issues were unsafe conditions not addressed by the code then the problem is having the code reflect the needs in the building and all buildings similar and is a much broader question.

A quick scan of the blog written by the tenet Action Group builds a very compelling case for a track record of willful negligence. In my mind the true measure of "reform" will be not who gets punished for the Grenfall Tower Fire, but what actions are taken for any and all of the other pre-existing buildings with similar problems (assuming the Grenfall Tower is not the only building in London with those fire safety issues). 

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com

It is interesting that the blog reveals that this is not the first serious fire in one of these buildings, but rather the first fire of this magnitude to gain the attention of the world and produce the current level of anger and scrutiny.

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/kctmo-playing-with-fire/

The true measure of a good outcome is less the punishment of a few principals in this fire but rather what system wide reforms grow out of it. We have an old saying in the US Fire Service. The reason the fire code is in a red book is because every single code entry is written in blood.

Similar in scope but longer ago would be the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in turn of the century New York. It is long considered the catalyst for the development of US Fire Safety Codes. Watching the aftermath of the Grenfall tower fire I see similar factors not only in the fire but in the public reaction afterwards.

Triangle_Shirtwaist_Factory_fire

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Latest news from BBC is that there may be 60+ people unaccounted for.

This is so wrong.

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5 hours ago, Point Break said:

I've never heard Britain described as communistic here....perhaps some socialistic influences. Anyway, from what little I have read negligence seems it will be very specifically an important factor. While the cladding is getting a lot of attention and whether that was a legal or wise choice will get sorted out. However while the cladding looks to have contributed to fire spread (especially the installation method), it didn't start the fire nor did it hamper evacuation except in the context it may have allowed a more rapid fire spread. But it didn't cause the fact there was only one stairwell and whether that stairwell was suitably protected as the sole evacuation route. I do not know the construction of that stairwell or the status of the other built in fire protection/alerting systems, but if the tenet "Action Group" is to be believed, the issue is the culmination of a history of fire safety problems and the failure of the management company and ultimately the owner to address those. If those issues were in violation of existing codes then the negligence is in the lack of enforcement. If the issues were unsafe conditions not addressed by the code then the problem is having the code reflect the needs in the building and all buildings similar and is a much broader question.

A quick scan of the blog written by the tenet Action Group builds a very compelling case for a track record of willful negligence. In my mind the true measure of "reform" will be not who gets punished for the Grenfall Tower Fire, but what actions are taken for any and all of the other pre-existing buildings with similar problems (assuming the Grenfall Tower is not the only building in London with those fire safety issues). 

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com

It is interesting that the blog reveals that this is not the first serious fire in one of these buildings, but rather the first fire of this magnitude to gain the attention of the world and produce the current level of anger and scrutiny.

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/kctmo-playing-with-fire/

The true measure of a good outcome is less the punishment of a few principals in this fire but rather what system wide reforms grow out of it. We have an old saying in the US Fire Service. The reason the fire code is in a red book is because every single code entry is written in blood.

Similar in scope but longer ago would be the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in turn of the century New York. It is long considered the catalyst for the development of US Fire Safety Codes. Watching the aftermath of the Grenfall tower fire I see similar factors not only in the fire but in the public reaction afterwards.

Triangle_Shirtwaist_Factory_fire

You have obviously been doing some research!

 

As more information is coming out, my thinking is changing. My previous post is looking a bit old fashioned......

 

I've discovered that British building code is a bit weird. It's as much about 'expectation of a particular standard'  as anything else and Wikipedia mentions that the code is not legally binding.

 

I think mad is right. A riot is well and truly on the cards.

 

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29 minutes ago, ease the sheet said:

You have obviously been doing some research!

 

As more information is coming out, my thinking is changing. My previous post is looking a bit old fashioned......

 

I've discovered that British building code is a bit weird. It's as much about 'expectation of a particular standard'  as anything else and Wikipedia mentions that the code is not legally binding.

 

I think mad is right. A riot is well and truly on the cards.

 

:lol:

Well, not too much research......I actually kinda stumbled onto those blogs etc while looking up the British building/Fire codes. I was curious about the code requirements for exiting/sprinklers/alarms etc. I discovered the same thing you did that the codes are kinda........vague in some areas I am used to more specificity. I am guessing I haven't looked in the right place. I wish Mr. Grebe would stumble in here and clarify, he is likely pretty much an expert in that arena. 

Re: the riot....while I never approve of violence as a way to accomplish something......from the news coverage, folks look pretty pissed off. I did see where the PM said if the "study" showed similar issues in other buildings she would have them declared unsafe and evacuate them. The story said that would be on the order of 100,000 people! Yeah, that's gonna happen. Of course when you have 10 minutes left as PM I guess you can make those kinds of statements.

I still cannot believe they installed a flammable coating onto the building with an aluminum outer shell AND an air gap between the two layers.........stunning. 

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Makes you realize how fast .019 aluminum soffit is going to last on an old condo, or private residence, before the flame enters the attic, with no densglas fire backing

Like a Coke can in a campfire.

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14 minutes ago, ease the sheet said:

Also the different grades of cladding based on height. Wtf? If it's not suitable on the 15th floor, why is it suitable on the 2nd floor?

Didn't notice that. Was it thinner as it went up? Weight?

Its just a stupid installation anyway. Many years ago I had a 5 story office building with a fire on the 2nd floor blowing out a window and lapping into the two floors above. The attack stairwell was an unprotected stairwell and got filled with smoke making operations more difficult. The building had a spray on exterior coating as well but it looked like stucco. Till it was on fire itself burning upward. We were all pretty surprised to see the "stucco" burning upward and I have never seen it since. It did burn pretty slowly and didn't really contribute to fire spread but it got a bit of attention from the manufacturer and national code folks. I didn't expect it would ever get used again unless it was changed. Honestly that was the least of my problems on that fire. I had a firefighter get separated from the hose line and then got lost in the very dense smoke, and ran out of air trying to exit, was overcome with smoke and had to be found and rescued. That quickly turned the fire into a colossal cluster f&^k. Fortunately, he was rescued in time and did well at the hospital. Scared me pretty good............

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The different cladding grades have different heat resistance.  One of the criteria for choosing which cladding to use was based on fire department ladder heights!

Seems, cheaper burny stuff is ok if you can spray it with water......

 

 

Some information in an abc.com.au article. On phone so can't link.

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5 minutes ago, ease the sheet said:

The different cladding grades have different heat resistance.  One of the criteria for choosing which cladding to use was based on fire department ladder heights!

Seems, cheaper burny stuff is ok if you can spray it with water......

 

 

Some information in an abc.com.au article. On phone so can't link.

Interesting, thanks. The vast majority of ladder trucks are 100 footers (in the US anyway.....I'm guessing similar in UK). That puts the maximum reach at around 7 or 8 stories depending on how close you can get to the building and how steep a climbing angle you're willing to endure. I never figured it better than 7 but hit 9 once.

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Today the usual size in Germany is 23/12, 23m height at 12m distance. Comes out to ~30m which is more or less 100ft. No real coincidence there.

Let's hope that nobody decides to do some real world night time research on the cladding.......

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Quote

Cladding on 60 high-rise buildings across 25 local authority areas in England has failed fire safety tests, the government has said.

Quote

"This is clearly a terrible national disaster and demands a national response. As well as the public inquiry on the lessons learned we need to establish where the areas of the highest risk are and take action immediately. That's been a priority for me."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40397790

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35 minutes ago, Bruno said:

10m isn't very tall.

Doesn't have to be when it's clad in flammable material!!

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I have to say........I'm quite impressed with the rapid remedial actions being taken by the British Govt. That would not happen anywhere in the US. On balance...from what I can find on the British Fire/Building codes, the US codes are MUCH stricter and detailed but still, to take such swift action......... I am hopeful they don't focus on just the building cladding since it got so much media time but address sprinklers and other built-in fire protection systems as well. But even if they don't..........I'm frigging impressed.

Well done Brits.........WFD.

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10m is the height limit on flammable claddings in non UK codes. Height of most ladders. Draw your own conclusions but I would consider practicing rappelling.

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17 minutes ago, Bruno said:

Many high rises in the US built before sprinkler requirements have yet to be retrofitted, varies by location.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-nation/wp/2017/06/15/risk-of-high-rise-fire-deaths-in-u-s-has-dropped/?utm_term=.cdfafb7b9169

I would suggest that most have not been retrofitted. In my area I only know of a couple. 

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