London Tower Block Fire

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  • #51
Mikezilla
Statement from Rydon on their Grenfell case study web page which has since been taken down...

Our total commitment to community-driven solutions and to incorporating low carbon technology into our programmes is helping to establish us as industry leaders in this field.
 
  • #52
Mikezilla
If anyone's still interested in this topic, I'd say to just follow BBC from here on out. Good reporting over there:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40465399

The confidential reports obtained by Newsnight contain assessments that persuaded inspectors that a given cladding design was safe and met legal standards.

Part of the engineers' reasoning was that, in a fire test, you would get similar results if you were to use either combustible aluminium panels or non-combustible ceramic tiles.

...While there is no test that contradicts the authors' conclusions about the safety of the proposed cladding system, experts were surprised at the arguments advanced by the authors, which they felt was not strongly supported by evidence.
 
  • #53
jim hardy
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...While there is no test that contradicts the authors' conclusions about the safety of the proposed cladding system,

Most often it's not what we don't know that hurts us,
it's what we thought we knew.
 
  • #54
Tom.G
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They're still focused on the cladding not the foam fuel behind it.
For those interested, the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for the foam is at:
http://www.gaf.com/Commercial_Roofi...tion/EnergyGuard_ISO_Insulation_MSDS_1088.pdf

Note the content of Pentane in section15:

Chemical Name
==============
Ethyldimethylmethane
(Isopentane) CAS # 78-78-4

n-Pentane CAS # 109-66-0

Fibrous Glass (Fiberglass)

Tris (monochloropropyl) Phosphate CAS # 13674-84-5

and also Section 5 HAZARDOUS COMBUSTION PRODUCTS:
Emits dense, black smoke when burned. Carbon dioxide and
carbon monoxide, phosphorus oxides, and phosphoric acid.

RECOMMENDED FIRE FIGHTING PROCEDURES:
Wear impermeable protective clothing and self-contained
breathing apparatus.

I wouldn't want to live or work in a box made of that stuff, especially with a skin of polyethylene with an Aluminium reflector.

If you want to see how polyehtylene burns, do it outdoors and stay upwind. (Sandwhich bags or gallon milk jugs.)
 
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  • #55
Mikezilla
So it turns out they did use GRC (concrete cladding), but only on the ground floor!

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news...ified-by-architects-only-used-on-ground-floor

I'll bet Studio E originally planned for these to cover the triangular pillars all the way up. This is costlier and heavier stuff, but may have saved the building and many lives had it been used (A1 fire rating). Studio E also proposed zinc cladding, not aluminum.

Looks to me like these architects knew what they were doing and originally designed with fire risk in mind.

There's little you can do when a cost-cutting client demands inferior materials that are actually legal and code- compliant. However, if Studio E really knew their stuff (it appears they did), the ethical thing to do would've been to tell KCTMO to go scratch and find another architect.
 
  • #56
Mikezilla
Gov now doing a more thorough test: three types of ACM with different types of insulation. Should've been done years ago.

Seems to have left one social housing provider in Manchester in the dark...

“Investigatory work began last week to remove cladding from our affected blocks, which has been temporarily replaced with aluminium panels to protect the building and ensure it remains watertight.

“However, Government advice regarding the removal of cladding is now unclear. In line with other housing providers in Salford and across the country, we’ve now halted the removal of further cladding until we have clearer guidance from the authorities on the best and safest solution to replace the affected cladding.

ACM alone is not the big issue here. Authorities are slowly coming around to that fact.

“As an additional precautionary measure, we have increased our existing 24/7, CCTV security and response service by providing extra patrols on all blocks with cladding systems and strengthened safety arrangements. We are also beginning the next stage of our Safety Enhancement Work to ensure our blocks meet the highest safety standards.​

https://www.salixhomes.org/news/updated-important-fire-safety-information

Stay vigilant, my friends.
 
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  • #57
Mikezilla
Hmm, so under EU standard EN 13501, only a "single burn" test applied to each material is deemed adequate. Under British Standard 8414, a "whole system test" is required, but is only voluntary. Grenfell would not have passed this test.

Furthermore, Celotex claimed their material had been tested by BRE and met fire safety requirements. BRE responded that this test referred to a different installation, and stated "Celotex should not be claiming that their insulation product can be used generically in any other cladding system."

Britain still in EU for a while despite exit referendum. Can they not legally enforce their own standard at present?
 
  • #58
Mikezilla
Some news about a 3rd product that was used, made by Kingspan. Their statement:

https://www.channel4.com/news/grenfell-tower-fire-third-key-cladding-product-revealed

...subsequent to the Grenfell tragedy we became aware that a very small quantity of Kingspan Kooltherm K15 (less than 5% of the estimated total external insulation used on the Tower) was (…) involved in the refurbishment.

Whilst we are still seeking to establish the facts of what occurred, it appears that Kooltherm K15 may have been used as a component in some of the ventilated rainscreen system that was used to upgrade the Grenfell Tower façade, however we have not been able to fully confirm how it was used.

We are, however, extremely surprised to find our phenolic insulation product may have been used alongside a PIR board.(cut)

Kooltherm K15 has been successfully tested as a component in a range of ventilated rainscreen systems, to BS 8414–1: 2002 and BS 8414–2: 2005, as required by one route to compliance with the Building Regulations for buildings above 18 metres. So far as we are aware, Kooltherm K15 has never been tested with a standard polyethylene (PE) core Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) panel, and we would be very surprised if such a system combining a PE core with any insulation material would ever pass the appropriate BS 8414 large scale test.

As we have stated before, given our focus on fire safety, the use of Kooltherm K15 in construction systems that are non-compliant with Building Regulations would never be acceptable to Kingspan.
 
  • #59
Mikezilla
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40602991

...ambiguous drafting in the building regulations mean that some developers, cladders and architects have assumed that this rule only applied to the insulation on the outsides of buildings, not the exterior of the cladding.

Adrian Buckmaster, director of TetraClad, a cladding company, said: "The government is now... saying that both the insulation layer and the outer layer they believe should be of a... non-combustible class, whereas if I read the documents as they are at the moment, the clauses specifically say just the insulation and the outer layer is a completely different standard."

Next bit:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news...ng-control-warned-about-refit-insulation-plan

Building safety experts warned in 2014 that the insulation planned for use on Grenfell Tower – which was installed and which fuelled the fatal fire in June – should be used only with non-combustible cladding.

The Guardian has seen a formal certificate issued by the building inspectors’ organisation, Local Authority Building Control, stating that the insulation chosen for the £10m tower refit was acceptable for use on tall buildings only if used with fibre cement panels, which do not burn..

Looks like the regulations are sound, but where was enforcement?
 
  • #60
Mikezilla
https://www.scientificamerican.com/...r-fire-building-material-now-leading-suspect/

Claire Benson, a fire and explosion specialist at London South Bank University, argues that the enforcement of regulations is an equally important consideration. ‘It might not be that the regulations are faulty, it might just be that people weren’t doing what they were supposed to be doing and nobody noticed,’ she tells Chemistry World. ‘There is a section in the regs that says that for buildings over 18 metres any insulation or “filler” material has to be of limited combustibility—I read that as being pretty much anything you use on the outside.’

‘You used to have to have fire inspections by the authorities to check that everything was all right and we don’t have that anymore, so it’s been entirely put in the hands of people who own the buildings.’
 
  • #61
Evo
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Can it get any worse?
 
  • #62
jim hardy
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Looks like there's at least a half dozen entities playing the game of "Blame those guys instead" .
 
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  • #63
russ_watters
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Looks like there's at least a half dozen entities playing the game of "Blame those guys instead" .
They must have gone to the Flint School of Public Health.
 
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  • #64
Vanadium 50
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OK, so it's more than a month and we still don't know who, if anyone, violated which regulation.

This is a problem with regulation-based safety. The regulations can swell to the point where it takes an army of lawyers to find out who has to do what, and safety paperwork becomes the focus, not actual safety.
 
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  • #65
jim hardy
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and safety paperwork becomes the focus, not actual safety.
That's the head of the nail right there.

That buildings can't read is anathema to paper shufflers.

Korean engineers I met at their KORI nuke plant have a saying -
"Give your process a soul. "
In other words - don't just squeak by the regulations , do the right thing.

Isn't that what wrecked San Onofre , short-cutting the design review process for steam generators?

old jim
 
  • #66
Mikezilla
Pray tell what the hell is going on over there?

https://amp.theguardian.com/uk-news...cladding-from-towers-could-increase-fire-risk

The government has warned landlords that stripping suspect cladding from buildings in the wake of the Grenfell Tower blaze could increase the risk of fire, as it emerged combustible insulation has been left exposed for weeks on blocks in Salford that are home to more than 1,000 people.

Dozens of councils nationwide have been removing polyethylene-filled aluminium panels like those used on Grenfell, but now the department of communities and local government has warned building owners “not to create conditions which may worsen the integrity of the cladding system … [including] leaving material exposed which could reduce fire performance”.

The warning to landlords came as the Guardian established that insulation which is more combustible than that used across Grenfell Tower has been left exposed for up to three weeks on at least six blocks on the Pendleton estate in Salford, including at least one 22 storey tower.

...“People in this block and the other blocks want the insulation taken out,” said Jon Smith, a resident for the last 20 years of the 22 storey Thorne House on the Pendleton estate. “It is more dangerous in our opinion than the cladding that covers it because it is combustible. Now it is exposed, you only need some idiot after a night on the drink deciding to conduct their own fire test and the whole block goes up.”

Read the whole article. As a contractor, I'm dumbfounded.

Landlord jumped the gun on cladding. But to leave the insulation exposed like that for weeks is either incompetence, bureaucracy or both. Somebody's gotta mind the store, or there won't be enough lawyers.
 
  • #67
Mikezilla
If you're looking for lawsuits, Arconic has a shareholder going after them.

Everybody involved with this is gonna get served: Celotex, Rydon, Harley Facades, RBKC. Perhaps architects depending on Inquiry. UK put faith in companies to operate safely, they didn't, so that's who they'll fine. The cynic in me says jail time for Harley since they're smallest of bunch.

In any case, main focus should be on getting other buildings up to code. If authorities can't enforce regulations, at least let tenants know.
 
  • #68
Mikezilla
Apparently the ACM and insulation don't even meet EU standards either...

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-40645205

According to data released by French authorities, and seen by the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme, the cladding would have released 43.2 MJ/kg of heat.


The European A2 standard for "limited combustibility" is 3 MJ/kg.


The foam insulation underneath the cladding was, separately, thought to emit around 26 MJ/kg of heat.

...An estimated 18 tonnes of insulation foam and eight tonnes of cladding panels were attached to the tower, analysis of planning documents by the University of Leeds suggests.

The energy released when all these combustible materials burned would have been equivalent to around 51 tonnes of pinewood wrapped around the building in two thin 12mm sheets, separated by a 50mm gap with holes cut out for windows, it says.
 

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