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Old 15th Jun 2017, 14:10   #101 (permalink)
 
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mickjoebill:

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Reports that smoke or gas line compromised the stairwell.
I heard one interviewee on the radio yesterday say that the gas pipes should have been 'enclosed' in March. No mention of what materials would be used for this.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 14:20   #102 (permalink)
 
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News Reports on this side of the Pond report Ms May has ordered a Public Inquiry....very effective action....after a disaster. Will the scope of the Inquiry be limited to this one building and the fire that destroyed it and killed some of the Residents?

Of course there probably is no appetite for addressing the real issues that lead up to this disaster.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 14:42   #103 (permalink)
 
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Given the pace of the public inquiry announcement and the cancellation of the Chancellor's Mansion house speech I think we have to prepare for a massive death toll by recent UK standards.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 14:45   #104 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Daysleeper View Post
Given the pace of the public inquiry announcement and the cancellation of the Chancellor's Mansion house speech I think we have to prepare for a massive death toll by recent UK standards.

I really, really pray you are wrong. However I am sad to say there may be something in what you say....sadly.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 14:47   #105 (permalink)
 
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The majority of large developers and construction companies won't use Local Authority Building Control (which is now a trading business, anyway, not a taxpayer funded service) but will use private building control companies with whom they have long-term contracts.
Noted, but note the last para in my quote... The council has de facto taken responsibility for the acceptability of the work and the materials used.

CG
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 14:53   #106 (permalink)
 
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I know that it's pretty common for government-owned assets to be uninsured and to just have indemnity for third parties via an insurance company.

I've no idea whether local authorities also self-insure in this way, but it seems possible that they may. Perhaps one of our local authority people here can clarify policy on this?
I have knowledge from a school buildings pov, and they are insured. They don't have a 'crown indemnity' approach like MOD do (I think). I seem to recall a 5-yearly re-evaluation process taking place.

CG
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 14:55   #107 (permalink)
 
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Sadly I am reminded of the Monty Python "architects' sketch" where a model of a tower block catches fire and falls down but that's OK because they are all masons...the abattior designer doesn't get the job, not because his flats include "rotating knives" but because he wasn't a mason...even though he "nearly got in at Hendon"
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 15:14   #108 (permalink)
 
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Well, they haven't killed the files of the planning application, which appears to specify an type of insulation that supposedly has Class 0 fire rating. Celotex FR5000 if I recall - which suggests that if properly fitted, that fire should have only affected the flat it broke out in.
Class O only relates to the surface spread of fire characteristics, not the flammability of the material itself. FR5000 is a PIR product (https://www.celotex.co.uk/products/fr5000), and PIR can burn when used in this application, as shown by this video of a PIR facade insulation test:

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Old 15th Jun 2017, 15:16   #109 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by charliegolf View Post
I have knowledge from a school buildings pov, and they are insured. They don't have a 'crown indemnity' approach like MOD do (I think). I seem to recall a 5-yearly re-evaluation process taking place.

CG
Thanks for that, cg, I wasn't sure if local authorities used the same scheme as central government, nice (from the tax payers point of view) that they don't.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 15:25   #110 (permalink)
 
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Noted, but note the last para in my quote... The council has de facto taken responsibility for the acceptability of the work and the materials used.

CG
Agreed, but there is also the issue that there is no longer any requirement for new buildings, or renovations like this, to have a fire officer's inspection. It used to be the case that before a habitation certificate could be issued, there had to be an inspection by a fire officer, from the fire service, to certify that the building met all the fire safety requirements, not just building regulations. That was abolished a while ago, so there would have been no independent fire risk assessment of the building after the work had been completed.

I believe there needs to be some prosecutions brought over this tragedy, because it seems there were several failings made in the whole project, by several different individuals. I'd like to see them all held to account, personally, but frankly I doubt that the public enquiry will do this. Look at the Lakanal House fire in 2009 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakanal_House_fire), the council there was fined a paltry 270k, almost an insult to the families of those who lost their lives. The council's comment back then? The council expressed "sincere regret for the failures that were present in the building".

Last edited by VP959; 15th Jun 2017 at 15:47. Reason: typo
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 15:43   #111 (permalink)
 
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Veep,

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there is also the issue that there is no longer any requirement for new buildings, or renovations like this, to have a fire officer's inspection.
This reminds me that, when a head of primary schools, I was deemed the expert who should produce the fire risk assessment for governors; who should ensure day-to-day fire safety and conduct regular tests and drills. Thankfully, the local smoke eaters would never refuse to come and do inspections by request; and I in turn invited bluntness from them.

CG
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 15:47   #112 (permalink)
 
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Veep,



This reminds me that, when a head of primary schools, I was deemed the expert who should produce the fire risk assessment for governors; who should ensure day-to-day fire safety and conduct regular tests and drills. Thankfully, the local smoke eaters would never refuse to come and do inspections by request; and I in turn invited bluntness from them.

CG

That's simply shocking.

How on earth can the head teacher of a school be expected to have all the detailed knowledge and experience of a firefighter?

How many people know that the fire safety of their children's school may be in the hands of someone well-meaning, but unqualified and inexperienced in fire risk assessment?
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 15:56   #113 (permalink)
 
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Quite. But when a fire officer comes in to see you, walks around and says, "If you don't provide me with satisfactory answers to all my criticisms by Friday, I'm closing the school.", one learns quickly. That is an extreme case, where I was asked to take on a school for 8 months when they had recruitment problems. It was 4 days after I arrived! That inner city school appeared to have every new fire safety gizmo you could want, retro fitted 2 years before. Most of it didn't work properly, and hadn't been tested since the refurb. What saved me from instant closure was that on my second day, I set the fire alam off without warning anyone. The drill was good. The fireman demanded a drill before he left- 700 3-11 years olds out in well under 2 mins. He said that had it not gone well, he'd have closed us there and then.

CG

PS, my wife is an HR expert, who never let me forget that in corporate manslaughter cases, it would be my neck on the block. I was very anal about fire safety.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 16:07   #114 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VP959 View Post
Agreed, but there is also the issue that there is no longer any requirement for new buildings, or renovations like this, to have a fire officer's inspection. It used to be the case that before a habitation certificate could be issued, there had to be an inspection by a fire officer, from the fire service, to certify that the building met all the fire safety requirements, not just building regulations. That was abolished a while ago, so there would have been no independent fire risk assessment of the building after the work had been completed.

I believe there needs to be some prosecutions brought over this tragedy, because it seems there were several failings made in the whole project, by several different individuals. I'd like to see them all held to account, personally, but frankly I doubt that the public enquiry will do this. Look at the Lakanal House fire in 2009 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakanal_House_fire), the council there was fined a paltry 270k, almost an insult to the families of those who lost their lives. The council's comment back then? The council expressed "sincere regret for the failures that were present in the building".

I lived in a modest block of flats - just 2/3 stores high - new build in 2007. About 18 months after we moved in we all got a letter from Barratts indicating that a post build inspection had revealed the void in the ceiling above the entrance doors to each individual flat was 'open' to allow the flat's services to enter and had not been sealed up afterwards around the pipes and cables etc. Barratt's said they would rectify the problem as it would allow cooking smells from flats opposite one another in the communal corridors to annoy other neighbours. BS of course as I learned from one of the contractors. It was a major breach of fire safety regulations as it would allow flames in the communal hallway to enter each flat in turn! The contractor then revealed that on the top floor of the entire development the peripheral walls of each flat - that were supposed to go from the floor to the structural ceiling - stopped short of the structural roof of the flat above visible ceiling height! In essence a fire in one flat would simply cross over to the next flat above the visible ceiling. Astonishing. Barratt's moved the occupiers out one by one on the top floor as their flats were ripped apart internally and completely redone. And - they paid for fire wardens to be positioned on the top floor of each apartment block 24 hours a day for about 6 months whilst the repair work was carried out.

How was this situation allow to happen in the first place - and how did they find out they had problem that was not visible to the eye?

10 years on and Barratt's still haven't left the site as they have had to carry out a shedload, an absolute shedload of remedial works. (I won't mention the service road where they buried the kerbside drains and created an unwanted swimming pool, you can't make this stuff up).
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 16:17   #115 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by yellowtriumph View Post
I lived in a modest block of flats - just 2/3 stores high - new build in 2007. About 18 months after we moved in we all got a letter from Barratts indicating that a post build inspection had revealed the void in the ceiling above the entrance doors to each individual flat was 'open' to allow the flat's services to enter and had not been sealed up afterwards around the pipes and cables etc. Barratt's said they would rectify the problem as it would allow cooking smells from flats opposite one another in the communal corridors to annoy other neighbours. BS of course as I learned from one of the contractors. It was a major breach of fire safety regulations as it would allow flames in the communal hallway to enter each flat in turn! The contractor then revealed that on the top floor of the entire development the peripheral walls of each flat - that were supposed to go from the floor to the structural ceiling - stopped short of the structural roof of the flat above visible ceiling height! In essence a fire in one flat would simply cross over to the next flat above the visible ceiling. Astonishing. Barratt's moved the occupiers out one by one on the top floor as their flats were ripped apart internally and completely redone. And - they paid for fire wardens to be positioned on the top floor of each apartment block 24 hours a day for about 6 months whilst the repair work was carried out.

How was this situation allow to happen in the first place - and how did they find out they had problem that was not visible to the eye?

10 years on and Barratt's still haven't left the site as they have had to carry out a shedload, an absolute shedload of remedial works. (I won't mention the service road where they buried the kerbside drains and created an unwanted swimming pool, you can't make this stuff up).
Sadly this doesn't surprise me in the least. I've done several thermal imaging surveys of new builds recently, free of charge, because I'm deeply concerned about the degree of shoddy building work that's going on.

Thermal imaging shows issues just like this, as voids where cooler air is flowing are usually clear on the image. So far I've surveyed the exterior of around 60 new build houses and two apartment blocks (4 storeys high). All had voids that were apparent from outside, many had air leaks that were visible around openings and in dormer window roof coverings.

I still provide a free survey service to local residents, something I started doing originally as part of an initiative organised by our diocese to help people reduce their fuel bills. What I've found is that now I'm asked to do far more surveys on brand new houses, where the occupants are unhappy with the quality of the build. That suggests to me that there are some serious shortcomings in the construction industry.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 16:31   #116 (permalink)
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" I still provide a free survey service to local residents, something I started doing originally as part of an initiative organised by our diocese to help people reduce their fuel bills. What I've found is that now I'm asked to do far more surveys on brand new houses, where the occupants are unhappy with the quality of the build. That suggests to me that there are some serious shortcomings in the construction industry.

Are you now. That's interesting to learn.

Whilst you may not be doing these surveys for "hire and reward" as the well known expression goes, what formal qualifications do you hold to support the veracity of your surveys ?

And, as we are usually required to get a survey done prior to buying a house, how do your own compare to any subsequent inspection carried out by a member of the RICS...
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 16:34   #117 (permalink)
 
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A firefighter has tweeted, "When they tell you to write your name on your helmet, you know it's going to be good". Black humour. He tweeted a pic of his helmet. Pic went viral.

The Sun photo desk tweeted,"Hi Mick, may we use your pic in the paper?"

Response: Nope!... not that shitrag!

Legend

CG
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 16:38   #118 (permalink)
 
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Originally Posted by Krystal n chips View Post
"[I]

And, as we are usually required to get a survey done prior to buying a house, how do your own compare to any subsequent inspection carried out by a member of the RICS...
Those surveys are shite. This is one case where I, unqualified CG, am more than happy to claim I could do better myself. I insisted my daughter had a full structural done on an old house she's buying. I really could have informed her better. That'll be 700 please. Of course, not being qualified scotches the validity of my opinion, but it don't change it!

CG
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 16:45   #119 (permalink)
 
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It was an RICS member who "altered the facts" in my dispute with the builder.
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Old 15th Jun 2017, 16:49   #120 (permalink)
 
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Those surveys are shite. This is one case where I, unqualified CG, am more than happy to claim I could do better myself. I insisted my daughter had a full structural done on an old house she's buying. I really could have informed her better. That'll be 700 please. Of course, not being qualified scotches the validity of my opinion, but it don't change it!

CG
I don't know what surveys are being referred to (if it was something by K n C then I've had him/her on ignore for months), but the "house buyers survey" is really little more than a valuation. All the new builds where I've done thermal imaging surveys only seem to have had a "house buyers survey", presumably because all the owners needed was something to satisfy their lender, plus the house or apartment would be covered by some form of warranty anyway.

I never started out intending to do thermal imaging surveys of new houses at all, the idea was to use the thermal imaging camera I'd bought for my own use to help people in the village reduce their heating bills. Word got around and I've found that I now get asked to do far more imaging surveys of new houses than older ones, simply because there is no way a company can really argue when they are faced with a clear thermal image that shows voids in the structure of a new house.
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