Grenfell Tower in North Kensington is on fire

Discussion in 'UK politics, current affairs and news' started by JTG, Jun 14, 2017.

  1. stethoscope

    stethoscope Well-Known Member

    Tribunal rules against the leaseholders :mad:
    Tower residents told to pay £500,000 to replace Grenfell-style cladding
  2. agricola

    agricola a genuine importer of owls

  3. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Every man and every woman is a star

  4. oryx

    oryx Sitting on the bock of the day

    It's an awful, awful situation for them. They either stuff themselves financially or live with the possibility that there may be another cladding-related fire disaster.

    I would also imagine that even if some of them wanted to go ahead, there would need to be consensus from all of them and that ain't gonna happen.
  5. agricola

    agricola a genuine importer of owls

    The truly mad thing is that, God forbid another cladding-related fire disaster happened, the leaseholders would be the only people who didn't bear responsibility for it.
    Pickman's model likes this.
  6. Lurdan

    Lurdan old wave

    Report of a Sky News interview with one of the Grenfell firemen who spoke on condition of anonymity.

    Grenfell firefighter's guilt over not being able to save more people

    Some of the points made (the inadequacy of breathing equipment that only lasts for 25-30 minutes when you have to climb 23 floors, whether the stay put policy should have been changed earlier, the radio failures, and whether the resulting communication problems affected decision making) have been raised in the past but it's still a sobering read.

    Obviously whatever the fire brigade could have done better doesn't deflect fundamental blame away from the building management regime and the set of decisions and actions by the parties involved with the refurbishment which fatally compromised fire safety. Rather it highlights their consequences.

    A firefighter who spent the night battling the blaze at Grenfell Tower last June speaks to Sky News Correspondent Charlotte Lomas on the condition of anonymity about what happened.

    Eerily quiet.

    That was the scene I encountered when I was sent into the blazing inferno of the Grenfell Tower fire.

    Outside it had been loud and chaotic like a war zone, but inside it was quiet.

    And the reason soon became apparent - our radios weren't working and we had lost all communication.

    It felt like we were very much alone.

    We couldn't radio back to let our crews know where we were, what we were doing, if we had done the job we had been sent up there to do.

    So if any of us were in trouble, we had no way of communicating that back.

    We couldn't see much. Everywhere we went it was filled with smoke - you couldn't even see your hand in front of your face.

    Everything about our training is teamwork and communications.

    We talk to each other, we talk to the outside, communications between the control staff, the people calling 999.

    If we haven't got radio communications then it's all guesswork and that's what a lot of our work was that night.

    I think there would have been a higher chance of getting more people out alive if the radios had worked properly.

    It was the biggest failure of the night as far as the London Fire Brigade was concerned.

    No one could talk to anyone outside.

    Imagine a firefighter going up to a certain floor in Grenfell Tower and telling someone to stay put because that's what they've been told to tell them and not realising the outside of the building was now fully engulfed in flames.

    And that's what firefighters have to live with now because no one could tell them inside the building that there was a raging inferno outside.

    I know that firefighters would have made a decision to get more people out of that building if they knew what was happening on the outside of that building.

    What makes me angry is the fact that we all know how useless our radio communication system is. And despite all the advanced communications systems these days, that we are not given the best equipment to save people's lives is frustrating.

    We're there to save people's lives and we should be given the best equipment.

    The 'stay put' policy was brought in due to the safety of flats in tower blocks.

    It's a policy that I've worked to for many years.

    I've been to tower block fires where we've been into a flat with a raging fire and it's never breached outside of that particular flat. But this was a new thing for us.

    We were unprepared for it.

    Looking back, I do think there was a stage in that night that the 'stay put' policy should have been changed.

    I don't think it was done early enough.

    I don't know if it would have caused some kind of stampede on the stairwell, I don't know if it would have saved more lives or killed more people, I really don't know.

    But I just believe from what I saw on the outside of that building it was quite apparent quite early on that these people should have been given a chance to get out.

    It was clear this was no ordinary fire.

    A normal fire in a block of flats will stay in one flat, that's what the tower blocks are designed for.

    But it somehow got outside of the flat onto the outside of the building.

    It was like nothing I've ever seen, it's hard to describe it in words.

    It went so quickly from a tiny fire on the outside and fizzed up, down, sideways, just around that building.

    I remember saying at the time to a friend, it looked like someone had poured petrol down the side of the building and it was just following the route of the petrol.

    We carry standard duration breathing apparatus which gives about 25-30 minutes of air depending on how hard you are working inside the building.

    So you can imagine sending someone up that stairwell up to the 21st/22nd/23rd floor, by the time they get up there they haven't got much time at all before they've got to come back down again.

    It soon became apparent during the night that sending us in with standard durations instead of extended duration apparatus was literally suicide.

    We were going in there, doing two minutes of work and then having to run out again.

    I know a few firefighters whose air ran out who came down - we call that stage 'sucking on plastic'.

    On top of that, most of the ladders were too short.

    Someone in their wisdom decided that long ladders weren't needed at these high rise incidents.

    The Fire Brigade have since said that those ladders wouldn't have made a difference that night.

    But they've also decided to bring them back so now those ladders go to emergency call outs on high-rises, so read into that what you will.

    I can't definitively say it would have made a difference, but a ladder carries a monitor which can put a hell of a lot more water on the fire then what we can with just a hose.

    There's a chance it could've controlled it. There is a chance if it was there right from the start it might have kept it to the lower floors.

    It would have been above the floor of the fire so it would have been raining down water onto the fire. It was such a quick, severe, rapid spread.

    We're never going to know if it would have made a difference, but it definitely wouldn't have made things worse.

    We soon realised the cladding on the outside of the building was not only flammable but it was waterproof.

    The water was literally bouncing off the cladding.

    We would try to get at angles to try and get inside it.

    At certain stages - I can't explain it - the water was hitting the fire and seemed to be pushing it out somewhere else.

    We couldn't stop it, we'd never seen anything like it.

    We've never had any sort of training for this sort of stuff and the fact that this cladding is on so many buildings around this country, surely firefighters should know about it?

    Surely if it is allowed on, some sort of training should be given to us to at least prepare us for this sort of fire?

    The tower was literally crumbling apart.

    I can only describe it again as like a war zone out there.

    We were falling into craters, and things were exploding above our head and we were using riot shields to protect people going in and out of the building.

    Nothing can prepare you for what happened that night.

    When we came out we just sat there, looking up out the building, trying to recover.

    I looked around and all I could see was the shocked faces of the firefighters, it was horrible.

    It was like a numbness, and we were all wide-eyed and in shock.

    I've been into fires in tower blocks since and, I'm not going to lie, it's always at the back of my mind and it will be at the back of my mind for the rest of my career.

    And I might make different decisions than I would have before 14th June.

    I'm a completely changed man. I live with it day to day and there's not a day goes past that I don't think about it. And it's really tough.

    There's still so much guilt that we had to leave 71 people in there.

    In response to this article, the Head of Grenfell Tower Investigation and Review Team, Deputy Assistant Commissioner Andy Bell said: "It's essential that we understand what happened on the night of the Grenfell Tower fire.

    "Not only do those who lost loved ones and their homes deserve to know exactly what happened, but we all need to learn about the cause and response to the fire to prevent such an incident ever happening again.

    "Firefighters will give evidence properly later this year as part of the Public Inquiry and every aspect of the Brigade's response is part of the ongoing police investigation.
    Celyn and 19force8 like this.
  7. 19force8

    19force8 For the avoidance of faith

    I don't think it works that way. If the Mgt Co decides to go ahead the leaseholders are liable for the costs.
  8. 19force8

    19force8 For the avoidance of faith

  9. ddraig

    ddraig dros ben llestri

    depressing reading

    Grenfell cladding failed to meet standard

    Pickman's model likes this.
  10. agricola

    agricola a genuine importer of owls

    Hard to even come up with the words to describe this, if its true:

    Grenfell Tower: fire-resistant cladding plan was dropped

  11. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Every man and every woman is a star

  12. salem

    salem Well-Known Member

    Are they saying that they changed the plan to cut costs and were so incompetent that they ended up paying more for an inferior product?

    How on earth is that possible?
  13. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    I'm not sure what the point of that article is. We already know that the alternative system described would almost certainly have performed better. This article doesn't tell us anything useful about when and why the decision was made to go with the system that was eventually used.
  14. skyscraper101

    skyscraper101 0891 50 50 50

  15. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    They made a decision about the procurement route. One option would be to use the council's 'preferred contractor' in which case that contractor submits a price, and then the council might seek to reduce that price through negotiation, and possibly through agreeing changes to the spec which may or may not have involved changes to the cladding.

    The alternative option, which it looks like they chose, was to put the project out to competitive tender, in which case several different contractors would submit prices and the council could then choose between them. Because it was put out as a 'design and build' contract, each contractor would have been able to propose its own preferred system for many aspects of the building, potentially including the cladding system.

    So, Rydon would have submitted their price and it may have involved proposing the eventually used cladding system or it may not have (that could have been changed later in the process). And the reason for changing it may have been based on cost grounds or other factors could have been involved.

    As I say, the article dosn't really tell us anything very useful. Neither do the committee meeting minutes that it links to.
    salem likes this.
  16. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    Also what the article doesn't discuss: the actually installed system would likely (in theory at least) perform better thermally than the proposed one using mineral wool.

    So, someone making a decision between the two would be looking at cost, and they would be looking at thermal performance. If one offers better thermal insulation at a slightly higher cost, then it could be perfectly rational to choose the more expensive one. Of course, through all of this, fire safety should also have been informing the decision. So the crucial question is whether the people making that decision had access to (or had made enough effort to get access to) information about fire safety of each option. If they had been informed that one option would not meet building regs, and chose it anyway, then of course they would be culpable. If they'd been informed that either would meet regs and be safe then it's down to whoever gave them that advice. And so on down the chain except that in this case, that chain gets very complicated because firstly it's not even clear that the building regulations themselves are adequate, and its not clear how much risk was added by the manner in which it was installed vs the way it was specified and designed.

    This kind of article tries to simplify it down to decision making that chose a dangerous system over a safe one, because it was cheaper. It may very well be that in the broadest sense, that's exactly what happened as a result of systematic things such as procurement methods, or insufficient money being spent on testing and approvals processes. But that's the more important story rather than this 'revelation' that at some point someone provided a quote for an alternative cladding system. There's nothing unusual or unexpected about that.
    salem likes this.
  17. Teaboy

    Teaboy It definitely looks brighter over there..

    Yes, all this is spot on. Of course the other thing to say is just because a company previously quoted for a project doesn't mean to say that's what it would have eventually cost, construction being what it is.
    teuchter likes this.
  18. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Every man and every woman is a star

    Have you ever worked in local government? Believe me it's easily possible.
    pogofish, Badgers, mojo pixy and 5 others like this.
  19. teuchter

    teuchter je suis teuchter

    Did the leaked pages from the BRE report get posted on here by the way?

    They are here (scroll down)

    Disastrous refurbishment turned Grenfell Tower into a 'tinderbox'

    It makes very unhappy reading. It's worth noting that the type of insulation chosen wasn't the only significant factor. There are all sorts of issues relating to design and installation that appear to have contributed. This means that even if the cladding system would fail certain fire tests (and it has done) - if other things had been done properly, it's quite possible the fire would not have spread in the way it did.

    The problems run much deeper than what decisions one particular organisation made in conjunction with this one particular building project.
    agricola and existentialist like this.
  20. Teaboy

    Teaboy It definitely looks brighter over there..

    Absolutely. The wrong materials specified, some of those products then changed combined with a very poor and dangerous installation. Quite simply everything was wrong and this sort of shot happens far too often in construction. There has just been a shrug and a 'what are you going to do?' attitude as its been a race to the bottom for a long time now.
  21. elbows

    elbows WoeTimer

    Pickman's model and Miss-Shelf like this.
  22. Teaboy

    Teaboy It definitely looks brighter over there..

    look at her, just look at her.

    She's fighting for all her worth to make sure no blame can ever be laid at the door of the government, that is her only goal. It'll be the main contractor, the sub-contractor, the architect, the cladding manufacturer, the insulation manufacturer, the local building control, the BRE, the BBA and I bet she'll even throw the local tory council to the wolves if it deflects blame from the government. This is going to be Hillsborough all over again.

    Fucks sake.
  23. GarveyLives

    GarveyLives Well-Known Member

  24. ddraig

    ddraig dros ben llestri

    The Fire Brigades Union responds to BBC Panorama investigation's findings on Grenfell Tower | Fire Brigades Union

    Responding to the findings of a BBC Panorama investigation about the insulation used on Grenfell Tower, Matt Wrack, the general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said:

    “The findings outlined in the Panorama investigation are beyond shocking. The issues identified in the programme are matters for the police to urgently investigate. Those responsible for any criminal behaviour in relation to Grenfell should be held accountable and feel the full force of the law.

    But we must look at how a lax regulatory system created an environment where the Grenfell Tower disaster was allowed to happen. As this investigation proves the current regime of regulation and testing of materials used in the construction industry has been shown to be a complete and utter failure. A failure of that nature which results in 72 deaths as happened at Grenfell is in itself criminal.

    “The fire safety testing regime in this country has been easily gamed. A product can pass a fire safety test because the manufacturer is able to submit a version which is far more fire retardant compared to the product it actually intends to sell to customers. This is a shocking state of affairs. Residents living in affected blocks and firefighters who may be sent to fight fires, not knowing what they are facing, will be utterly outraged at what has been going on.

    “The same type of insulation created by Celotex has been used in hundreds of other buildings across the UK. That’s just one product. How many other types of material have managed to pass fire safety tests while posing a threat to life? It is not good enough to say that one manufacturer behaved illegally. The entire fire testing regime needs to be redesigned urgently if we are to avoid another Grenfell.”
  25. Casual Observer

    Casual Observer binoculars

    I haven't yet watched last night's Panorama but will do later. Following on from ddraig , the BBC are claiming that Celotex (the manufacturer of the insulation behind the cladding panels) used an additional fire retardant on their product which enabled it to pass the BS 8414 test in 2014, thus clearing it for use on high rise buildings. Celotex then marketed their product (without the additional fire retardant) as being suitable for use on high rise buildings. Oh dear.
    Pickman's model, Badgers and ddraig like this.
  26. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Every man and every woman is a star

    to be fair, theresa may looks awkward in every picture

    oh, and remind me to submit a freedom of information request in a month to find out where in 10 downing street that picture is displayed.
    mojo pixy, Schmetterling and Badgers like this.
  27. Teaboy

    Teaboy It definitely looks brighter over there..

    Its very shocking stuff, Celotex are one of the biggest names in insulation if this is true than its corporate manslaughter for my mind. The thing is (and I've also yet to watch the program) British Standards are quite explicit that external insulation used on buildings above 12m in height should be non combustible. Putting a flame retardant additive into your product makes it simply flame retardant, it is still combustible. Its like the stuff they put on sofas or tents, all it means is that it will self extinguish unless in constant contact with the source of the fire.

    To my mind there is no way Celotex should have been used on this building regardless of which version and this is before we even get to the cladding. I said right at the start of this thread that so many people would have turned a blind eye to what was being proposed for this project, disgusting and and a total dereliction of their professional and moral duty.
    Last edited: May 22, 2018
  28. Pickman's model

    Pickman's model Every man and every woman is a star

    m'learned friends will do very nicely out of this
    Badgers likes this.
  29. teqniq

    teqniq DisMembered

    But will successive governments who have presided over this melange of lax oversight/regulations and cost-cutting be held accountable? Unfortunately I think not.
  30. hash tag

    hash tag Pedicabo omnes

    What a shit god awful thing to do Families walk out as Grenfell video shown
    As if those poor people have not been through enough, then had the wounds opened, had salt rubbed in and now this.
    How utterly shit can we make things for them. FFS
    Pickman's model and cupid_stunt like this.

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