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Tower Block Disaster

Posted: 14 Jun 2017, 7:48am
by pwa
This situation is still unfolding but it seems clear that there has been great loss of life. I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say how sorry I feel for the many families caught up in this.

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Posted: 14 Jun 2017, 8:16am
by Vorpal

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Posted: 14 Jun 2017, 12:36pm
by mercalia
I cant but wonder whether it is a terror attack - the pictures I have seen show a towering inferno type situation, the few blocks of flats I have heard about in London where there were fires only affected a few flats: what ever started it off must have been collossal?

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Posted: 14 Jun 2017, 12:42pm
by bovlomov
mercalia wrote:I cant but wonder whether it is a terror attack - the pictures I have seen show a towering inferno type situation, the few blocks of flats I have heard about in London where there were fires only affected a few flats: what ever started it off must have been collosal?

Given the concerns that were raised, repeatedly, about the block, and given the appalling state of such blocks across the country, it really is no surprise that this happened. Unless slack building control is the terrorists' latest method, I think your wonderings are misdirected.

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Posted: 14 Jun 2017, 12:53pm
by old_windbag
mercalia wrote: what ever started it off must have been collossal?


I think they were saying the "cladding" of the building that was added recently burned rapidly up the outside of the building.

It's an awful situation and one that sickens me to the stomach to think of being in such a position. Not nice, very sad day for those people resident.

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Posted: 14 Jun 2017, 1:18pm
by Paulatic
mercalia wrote:I cant but wonder whether it is a terror attack - the pictures I have seen show a towering inferno type situation, the few blocks of flats I have heard about in London where there were fires only affected a few flats: what ever started it off must have been collossal?


I suspect the only enemy of the people involved here is a Tory run council. Backed up by a Tory government who have delayed an inquiry into a fatal fire and review of safety.
Yet another inquiry delayed, along with British Cycling and a host of others. All delayed until after the election no doubt.
Bear in mind Tories want to remove even more 'red tape and regulations'.

Vin Garbutt,who died recently, in his intro into the song "Where the hell are we going to live" used in his preamble to mention that Red Indians didn't put their tepees on top of each other. :)

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Posted: 14 Jun 2017, 1:27pm
by mercalia
well I am puzzled by it all - I live in a block of flats - not so tall just 3 stories but there was a fire in one bottom flat and it was self contained yes smoke went up the stair cases and couldnt see to get out and the flat in question was gutted but that was all. Shocked if these high rises catch fire that easily. Some one need to be prosecuted?

flats.JPG
West London tower block


This is a shocking picture

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Posted: 14 Jun 2017, 1:59pm
by old_windbag
Mercalia if you look at your image you'll see that the outside of the building is on fire, spreading right up the sides. The building had cladding on it, there's a few up around here that were 60's, 70's straight concrete builds but have have a cladding layer added on the outside to make them look aesthetically nicer or modernised...... concrete obviously wouldn't burn as in your image. So in your fire I'd guess your building hasn't been altered in this way as a path for the flat fire to spread up to your floor.

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Posted: 14 Jun 2017, 4:18pm
by AlaninWales
Useful background on the effect cladding can have here http://www.probyn-miers.com/perspective/2016/02/fire-risks-from-external-cladding-panels-perspective-from-the-uk/
Apparently there have been updates to the regulations in 2013 and that link is from 2009 but from the link:

Under UK Building Regulations, external walls require fire resistance, although a proportion of openings are permitted. The fire resistance is generally required to resist an internal fire, but fire resistance from both sides is necessary if within 1m of the site boundary. The fire resistance does not have to be provided by the external cladding. External cladding systems are not required to be non-combustible.

and
There has also been advice regarding combustibility of insulation materials in cladding in ADB ever since 1992:

“ 12.7 The external envelope of a building should not provide a medium for fire spread if it is likely to be a risk to health or safety. The use of combustible materials for cladding framework, or of combustible thermal insulation as an overcladding or in ventilated cavities, may present such a risk in tall buildings, even though the provisions for external surfaces … may have been satisfied.

Advice is not the same thing as a regulatory requirement of course. Several experts on BBC and elsewhere appear to be saying that the fire looked like it was spreading via the cladding: Since high rises are expected to compartmentalise fires (hence the advice to remain in place), this was evidently a type of fire progression that was unexpected (despite being described in that 2009 link).

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Posted: 14 Jun 2017, 4:22pm
by landsurfer
The cladding is a polystyrene type expanded foam installed to meet EU (and common sense) insulation and Green directives.
It is fitted to Council houses and tower block all over the UK ....
My daughters house had it installed last September and she saw a drop in gas bills over the winter of over 60%.

Personally i had always assumed to would be fire proof, fire retardant, self extinguishing etc ....

But not in this case

To blame the Tories for this disaster is a disgraceful act, you should be ashamed of yourself Paulatic ... this above political point scoring.

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Posted: 14 Jun 2017, 4:27pm
by Tangled Metal
The outer cladding itself isn't the issue I suspect but usually there is an air gap then insulation. This insulation supposedly isn't required to be resistant to fire. It could theoretically be this insulation that's part of the problem.

Then there's the issue of building age. It was built.before the current building regs came in with their fire protection requirements. There is only so much a refurb can achieve. It can't create protected escape routes conforming to modern evacuation requirements if the structure means a longer escape route than allowed under modern regs.

Failings had already.been found and resident's groups have highlighted it (apparently the landlord had been working with the fire service and started to make changes). What has happened clearly shows there's something seriously wrong there before the fire. I do doubt it'll work out with a successful criminal action such a corporate manslaughter though.

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Posted: 14 Jun 2017, 4:30pm
by AlaninWales
Tangled Metal wrote:The outer cladding itself isn't the issue I suspect but usually there is an air gap then insulation. This insulation supposedly isn't required to be resistant to fire. It could theoretically be this insulation that's part of the problem.

Then there's the issue of building age. It was built.before the current building regs came in with their fire protection requirements. There is only so much a refurb can achieve. It can't create protected escape routes conforming to modern evacuation requirements if the structure means a longer escape route than allowed under modern regs.

Failings had already.been found and resident's groups have highlighted it (apparently the landlord had been working with the fire service and started to make changes). What has happened clearly shows there's something seriously wrong there before the fire. I do doubt it'll work out with a successful criminal action such a corporate manslaughter though.

Read the link. The gap (whether present initially or created as the insulation melts/burns) is part of the problem: It spreads the flame further undetected and allows flashover into other compartments of the building.

The refurb may not have been able to add extra fire escapes but could have added e.g. sprinkler system to make the only available route safer. Why it didn't will presumably be examined in the investigation.

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Posted: 14 Jun 2017, 4:32pm
by Tangled Metal
I.understand it to be aluminium sheet either side of s honeycomb layer this is fixed to the outer face of the original building with insulation against the wall and air gap between insulation and outer cladding layer.

Whatever the construction it'll probably have been tested for fire performance at establishments like Warrington fire research council in Warrington or the one near.High Wycombe. BS 476 parts 20 & 22 IIRC.

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Posted: 14 Jun 2017, 4:36pm
by landsurfer
Which brings us back to my previous post .... surely this cladding / foam should be fire proof or fire retardant ???
Just about every council house in the Rotherham area has it fitted with a rendered / pebble dash finish.
Was the contractor tasked with fitting fireproof foam, possibly very expensive.
And actually fitted a cheaper product.
There was no alloy skin installed on my daughters house .... just foam rendered over.
Driving through Sheffield on Monday i saw Foam cladding being installed on a tower block near Hallamshire hospital .... just foam and render again.
Councils all over the UK must be about to hit panic stage.

Re: Tower Block Disaster

Posted: 14 Jun 2017, 4:45pm
by AlaninWales
Tangled Metal wrote:I.understand it to be aluminium sheet either side of s honeycomb layer this is fixed to the outer face of the original building with insulation against the wall and air gap between insulation and outer cladding layer.

Whatever the construction it'll probably have been tested for fire performance at establishments like Warrington fire research council in Warrington or the one near.High Wycombe. BS 476 parts 20 & 22 IIRC.

Is that the 2013 changes? In the link it says
Neither Class 1 nor Class 0 materials are necessarily fire resistant to BS 476-22 or non-combustible to BS 476-4 (or Class A1 to EN 13501-1).
Class 1 and 0 materials being what cladding is frequently made from.

There are also reports that there were no firebreaks between the floors in service lines and pipes (before the refurbishment at least) and that unclad gas risers in the stairwell (since the refurbishment).