Tower Block Disaster

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Vorpal
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Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby Vorpal » 15 Jun 2017, 10:18am

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.c ... y-scandal/

Plenty more of this sort of thing, if you look through the minutes of the Grenfell Action Group. :cry:
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old_windbag
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Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby old_windbag » 15 Jun 2017, 10:23am

pete75 wrote:Lakanal House 2009 six killed and 20 injured.


old_windbag wrote: But recent years seem to be changing this safety record with mods to original buildings


The Lakanal House incident had outcomes that were presented a couple of posts later.

On fire alarm systems from 661-pete. You do the best you can to produce devices to alert people of the fire/smoke, important whilst asleep, and they work perfectly well. On top of CO detectors for boilers etc we have very safe( or can have ) buildings in terms of alerting the occupiers of an emergency and lighting their way out in the case of large buildings...... and not high cost. Nothing at fault with any of these things but in this sad case it's the issue of from say a single flat fire that would in past times have been contained, spreading it's fire in 30 minutes to nearly the whole tower. There does seem to be a glaring factor, even from the images, of the material composition of the newly added cladding. A plain concrete outer as grenfell originally had when built wouldn't behave that way. The tower blocks of the 60's/70's don't had a bad reputation in any way for fire events, but the outer cladding material standards/flammability will be ringing alarm bells uk wide following modernisations. It may not be the cause of a fire but if it may be the conduit for the vigorous spread seen if shown to be flammable under specific conditions.

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Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby pete75 » 15 Jun 2017, 10:35am

al_yrpal wrote:My favourite Uncle was Charter Mayor of a London Borough. I remember him saying in the 1970s that the worse thing he had done in his long career as a Labour councillor was to put people in tower blocks. He was thoroughly ashamed of this aspect of his career in public service. Blaming a particular political party for this mess won't wash. All political parties are equally responsible over a very long period of time. The culprits are clearly the Architects, Engineers and the management company and even then it would seem that there was some sort of unknown and previously unencountered phenomenon at work that caused the building to go up so quickly. Finding out what went wrong and taking rapid steps to safeguard others who live in these awful structures is the positive thing to do right now, not try to score pathetic political points!

Al


Of course not when it's the party you support that is most likely responsible. However if it was the other way around you'd be putting the boot in mightily.

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Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby bovlomov » 15 Jun 2017, 10:38am

al_yrpal wrote: Finding out what went wrong and taking rapid steps to safeguard others who live in these awful structures is the positive thing to do right now, not try to score pathetic political points!

I can see your point. The trouble is that the Conservatives make a lot of political capital from their talk of cutting red tape and making a bonfire of regulations. Naturally the left is criticised for being overbearing on such matters. If Labour's record really is as bad, it rather puts paid to accusations of nanny statism.

As I posted above, the Conservatives were making the point that it wasn't the state's job to market sprinkler systems. It's a respectable argument to make, and if they believe it, now is as good a time as any for a minister to repeat it. They shouldn't be allowed to get away with supporting slack regulation, and then imposing piecemeal requirements in the wake of each tragedy.

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Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby old_windbag » 15 Jun 2017, 10:38am

al_yrpal wrote: I remember him saying in the 1970s that the worse thing he had done in his long career as a Labour councillor was to put people in tower blocks. He was thoroughly ashamed of this aspect of his career in public service.


I don't think tower blocks are a bad idea as they allow a high population density in a small space without denying people good house room within their flats. There have been many documentaries on peoples homes where those in flats simply love them. The problem arises because sadly some humans treat tower blocks as rubbish bins and toilets as well as sites of vandalism, the utopian dream spoilt by the usual minority. When flats have entry systems and tenants vetted by past record( tenancy wise ) they can great benefits...... and safe too.

I think the 60's/70's corner cutting, I'll scratch your back you scratch mine corrupt building system perhaps created structural issues that also didn't help tower block reputations. The Poulson, T Dan Smith sort of era. So we are damaging a sound concept, tower blocks, from the actions of those put in place to create them..... as is so often the case. Implementated correctly then they can be excellent, just look at all the ultra rich who are more than happy in their sky-rise appartments. We can still create similar at moderate cost and without corner cutting if we want to.

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Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby pete75 » 15 Jun 2017, 10:50am

old_windbag wrote:
al_yrpal wrote: I remember him saying in the 1970s that the worse thing he had done in his long career as a Labour councillor was to put people in tower blocks. He was thoroughly ashamed of this aspect of his career in public service.


I don't think tower blocks are a bad idea as they allow a high population density in a small space without denying people good house room within their flats. There have been many documentaries on peoples homes where those in flats simply love them. The problem arises because sadly some humans treat tower blocks as rubbish bins and toilets as well as sites of vandalism, the utopian dream spoilt by the usual minority. When flats have entry systems and tenants vetted by past record( tenancy wise ) they can great benefits...... and safe too.



The bad thing about putting people into tower blocks, and I suspect it's what AL's uncle meant, was that it destroyed communities. They were built when a lot of slum clearance was going on and were fashionable at the time. Streets and streets of terraced houses were demolished because they were regarded as unfit. Whilst these may not have been ideal dwelling places they did have good and stable communities. The tragedy was that many of these houses could have been renovated and improved with modern facilities rather than being torn down.

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Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby pwa » 15 Jun 2017, 10:55am

Fire has always been the big worry with tower blocks. So how could "experts" ever come to the conclusion that cladding a tower block in materials that will burn is a good idea? Even without specialist knowledge and just relying on "common sense" I would have assumed that to be an unacceptable material for the job. To me it seems staggeringly inept. What were they thinking?

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Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby bovlomov » 15 Jun 2017, 10:59am

pwa wrote:Fire has always been the big worry with tower blocks. So how could "experts" ever come to the conclusion that cladding a tower block in materials that will burn is a good idea? Even without specialist knowledge and just relying on "common sense" I would have assumed that to be an unacceptable material for the job. To me it seems staggeringly inept. What were they thinking?

It seems to be happening across the globe. Must be cheap!

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Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby old_windbag » 15 Jun 2017, 10:59am

pete75 wrote:They were built when a lot of slum clearance was going on and were fashionable at the time. Streets and streets of terraced houses were demolished because they were regarded as unfit. Whilst these may not have been ideal dwelling places they did have good and stable communities. The tragedy was that many of these houses could have been renovated and improved with modern facilities rather than being torn down.


Yes from that perspective I agree as they did similar in this area whereby of the 20000 original members of the "slum house" community, only 2000 returned to the new housing that they built after clearance. No tower blocks but they were up to 4 stories high. But now 40 years on there is a thriving community there, but at the time of redevelopment the community was badly disrupted, in part perhaps due to them being predominantly of an age where they ended off living with their children or moved into sheltered accomodation etc.

But the original design concept of high-rise was for them to have huge walkways with shops and meeting places, nurseries, playgrounds and also have the flats share common frontages so in effect mini terraces. But that ideal does out of the window when people see the cost and ask for features to be removed.

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Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby reohn2 » 15 Jun 2017, 11:41am

My 2d's worth FWIW
Questions I'm asking myself are
1)why wasn't a fire in a single apartment not able to be contained within that single apartment?
2)why were fire alarms either not working or not loud enough? To pick up on pete661's point about sprinkler systems,if such systems are deemed the law in public buildings why not in multi story residential buildings over say five stories high?
3)why wasn't there a sprinkler system in place at least on the stairwells if not the whole Building?
4)why,when the hazards of certain exterior insulation materials known because of fires elsewhere in the world,not banned from being used in the UK by strict enough building Regulations?
5)why was firefighting apparatus and evacuation means/systems totally inadequate to deal with such a fire?
6)why were people living there instructed that in case of fire they were to remain in their apartments?

From a personal POV I can't think I'd ever want to live in such a building,I've always thought that due the fear of being trapped,but also having no personal space outside of the apartment other than perhaps some small storage space at ground level.
TBH if this type housing is the best society can come up with for high density city living,society has failed it's citizens in a gross and crass way.
That said IMHO I can see that perhaps single occupant or couples could live comfortably in multi story apartments,though not so high,perhaps half the height (10 storey max?).
To even be in the immediate vicinity of such structures makes my spirit wither TBH.
To allow/make/force families into such housing IMHO is disgusting and soul destroying in the extreme,irrespective of whether they're safe or not.
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Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby pete75 » 15 Jun 2017, 12:04pm

old_windbag wrote:
But the original design concept of high-rise was for them to have huge walkways with shops and meeting places, nurseries, playgrounds and also have the flats share common frontages so in effect mini terraces. But that ideal does out of the window when people see the cost and ask for features to be removed.


They were influenced by Le Courbusier's Unite d'habitation in Marseille . Building like that was too expensive for Britain. It doesn't really matter what the original design concept was like , it's what was actually built that counts.

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Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby old_windbag » 15 Jun 2017, 12:20pm

pete75 wrote: It doesn't really matter what the original design concept was like


But it does matter in that people come up with good ideas that can actually work but the concept is cut back and cut back on costs grounds until what is built, as you point out, is functionally a shadow of the original concept. As a society we can create and design products and housing that functionally work well, but( and I've seen this in reality ) there is always the conflict with those who look and go "if we were to remove that how much would it save us". Great ideas don't have to cost the world to implement but even when at medium cost there are those who wish to make things on a shoestring at expense of the end product. The high-rise doesn't deserve a bad reputation based on decisions made to dilute it's functionality down. We have a very high population that without the high rise concept we'd have big problems in land area to accomodate within cities, grenfell tower had over 100 flats which as a housing development would be around 25 acres, yet it's footprint was probably around 1 acre. Like them or loathe them we have had reasons for going down this route.

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Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby blackbike » 15 Jun 2017, 12:50pm

Given that this disaster is essentially a public sector one I don't hold out much hope that those responsible will be punished by the criminal law or even disciplined at work.

A lowly scapegoat could be found, but the likely response is the systemic failure, no individual to blame, lessons have been learned list of excuses which are routine whenever a branch of the state fails the people it is paid to serve.

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Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby francovendee » 15 Jun 2017, 1:00pm

al_yrpal wrote:My favourite Uncle was Charter Mayor of a London Borough. I remember him saying in the 1970s that the worse thing he had done in his long career as a Labour councillor was to put people in tower blocks. He was thoroughly ashamed of this aspect of his career in public service. Blaming a particular political party for this mess won't wash. All political parties are equally responsible over a very long period of time. The culprits are clearly the Architects, Engineers and the management company and even then it would seem that there was some sort of unknown and previously unencountered phenomenon at work that caused the building to go up so quickly. Finding out what went wrong and taking rapid steps to safeguard others who live in these awful structures is the positive thing to do right now, not try to score pathetic political points!

Al

Maybe, but don't forget the residents had expressed their concerns to the local council but they were ignored. The local council, of whichever Political leaning, needs to be held to account before 'moving on'.
I was born in the area, not 400 yards from the site and although my old home has long gone I remember my parents saying the council was only interested in the posh part of the borough. I suspect not a lot has changed.
Another question that needs to be explained is where does the Fire Officer stand in relation to approval of the modifications. I can only speak from Factories where you had to have more than one escape route from a building. Maybe 2 lifts and one stairwell satisfied the regulation.

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Re: Tower Block Disaster

Postby bovlomov » 15 Jun 2017, 1:04pm

blackbike wrote:Given that this disaster is essentially a public sector one I don't hold out much hope that those responsible will be punished by the criminal law or even disciplined at work.

The management company isn't public sector. Nor were the contractors. You could make a stronger argument against privatisation in the social housing sector.

Although council development supported its share of corruption, the final product tended not to be as crap as modern social housing, both in design and in build quality.