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Grenfell report

out today

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wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd 29-Oct-2019 10:43 Message #4760887
The fisrt part of the inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire is out today and the top breass of the Fire Brigade seem to be getting a mauling for not being prepared enough for this sort of fire, the rank and file are being praised, something I think good as to often the people at the bottom take the blame for failures way above their paygrade.

The cladding and general lack of adherance to building codes and fire regulations is also being highlighted. I expect to hear more as the day goes on, I really hope this dosen't get swept under the news carpet by the silly games in parliament, because this is at least as important as a GE.
Colonel_Blink  Male  Buckinghamshire 29-Oct-2019 11:02 Message #4760891
If errors were made they should be highlighted so they won’t happen again. As soon as the finger pointing starts the facts get buried. This tragedy may have been a learning curve for the cladding manufacturers, construction contractors and the fire service. With hindsight know mistakes were made and wrong decisions taken but were they taken with the best of knowledge at the time.
Michaelt  Male  Devon 29-Oct-2019 12:02 Message #4760897
This fire was caused by decades of Tory governments ignoring Britain's infrastructure within their free market deregulation, ie profit before people, those who are being blamed are scapegoats....
Colonel_Blink  Male  Buckinghamshire 29-Oct-2019 12:03 Message #4760898
You prove the point I was making Michael with a pathetic attempt at pointing blame to justify your own selfish dogma.
Andromeda  Female  Berkshire 29-Oct-2019 12:06 Message #4760899
Michael has probably ruined another thread in which members might have discussed the tragedy rather than score points from it. I hope his fans aren’t here to vote him excellent.
FirmButFair-TrollPatrol  Male  North Yorkshire 29-Oct-2019 12:31 Message #4760901
The fire was caused by a faulty fridge. It was not the fault of the Conservatives during their 9 years in office and it was not the fault of Labour who were in office for 13 years prior to that. I don’t think they will find it was the fault of anyone in particular but more likely down to a lack of knowledge at that time.
The fire service were warning occupants of high rise fires to sit tight in their flats which they now say is the wrong advice.
Beach  Male  Somerset 29-Oct-2019 12:43 Message #4760903
I'm more interested in learning about the fire itself and the reasons the structure went up in flames the way it did.

I know we already know the ignited cladding acted as a chimney but it will be sobering to have the failures laid out in the open. And with luck, new legislation will enable (or force), similar structures to be removed or upgraded.
Thankfully, I don't see certain people's text anymore, Andromeda, but I can guess what sort of vitriol is being aired.

They haven't got fans. They've just got a modest handful of MSE'r who, themselves, like to indulge the trolls just so they can have an aggressive vent at the world as well. (Some folk seem to get wood at the very thought of being unfriendly online ... though I bet they wouldn't behave like that in a public bar or to someone's face).
zodiac1  Male  Flintshire 29-Oct-2019 12:53 Message #4760904
If anyone needs banning ,Michaelt, I would imagine you are a prime contender for the ban.

It was the fault of the Kensington and Chelsea council who after being given a quote to refurbish of £100m , decided for a cut in quality, and the refurb was finished on the cheap.

As was said earlier, the cause was a faulty fridge , and not the tories that you so love to hate.
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey 29-Oct-2019 14:36 Message #4760906
My understanding is that the cladding chosen for GF Tower was the one with better thermal insulation - ie giving low income social tenants cheaper heating bills and thus avoiding fuel poverty.

I have also in recent past read reports where tenants in blocks where cladding has been removed are complaining about higher heating costs!

Overall cost of Grenfell refurb was £8.6 million or around £70,000 for each flat. The tower was designed in 1967 and built in 1970 under the Labour Govt.

Without such high rise social housing it would not have been possible to house so many social tenants in London - and even today Greater London has around 25% social housing - a far higher proportion than elsewhere in UK - with overall UK average being 17% - a drop from the 31% peak of 1981.
Michaelt  Male  Devon 29-Oct-2019 15:15 Message #4760907
zodiac1, Yes and our deregulated free market system allowed this cost cutting.
NoSaint  Female  Devon 29-Oct-2019 15:34 Message #4760908
Michaelt. How would you change the free market? Would you put tariffs on goods? Which goods? How would your ideal government intervene on supply and demand?

FirmButFair-TrollPatrol  Male  North Yorkshire 29-Oct-2019 16:02 Message #4760910
NoSaint this could be interesting as I would definitely like to know Michael’s answer. He has stated many times how “we Bits are the most politically uneducated and uniformed in the western world.....” so a little bit of his education would be appreciated.
zodiac1  Male  Flintshire 29-Oct-2019 16:35 Message #4760912

You should listen to a very knowledgable gentleman called Boydel who certainly isn't one of us politically illiterate as you seem to think of many of us.

You should take note of his last post on here, he makes great sense, something you don't seem able to grasp at all.
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd 29-Oct-2019 19:04 Message #4760928
Maybe we could stop responding to someone who only cares about his own political aganda and actually disucss the OP, if no one engaged with such posts then threads wouldn't be derailed?

I think the problems with Grenfell and other large projects is the number of hands such tenders pass through, all the time things get watered down, not commnicated or just ignored for the sake of profit. There seem to be just as many privately owned buildings with similar issues so its not just about council housing. Residents were complaining about faults and dangers after the refit, but nothing was done, that seems to be mismanagement by the council and others who were responsible for the refit. I'm sure many people do have colder homes as a result of cladding being removed, proper cladding needs putting back, people shouldn't have to face the choice of unsafe cladding or being cold, regardless of whether they own or rent they're homes and who they rent them from. Nor do I think it helpful to list when buildings were built and who was in government when they were built or at what cost, all homes need reburbishment at some stage, costs of rewiring, replumbing, wall lining, plastering etc are not going to be cheap especially at London prices, 70k per flat sounds about what I'd expect, I'd also expect the work to be done properly and to a high standard and according to building regulations.

What seems to be coming out at the moment is about what happened on the night of the fire and the responses of the fire brigade and most especially the senior commanders who's responsibility it is to direct the lower ranks and to consider the overall safety of the situation. The chief fire officer came over as extrememly inflexible in her thinking and her ability to respond to a rapidly changing situation as well as insensitive and arrogant in telling the enquiry that she would of done nothing differently with hindsight.

BOYDEL  Male  Surrey 29-Oct-2019 20:18 Message #4760931
GF Tower was of course "managed" by an ALMO (arms length management organisation) so another link in a long chain where potentially responsibility/blame (for cladding type) can be avoided falling on any one link.

Like the FENSA registered double glazing firms who are allowed to certify their own work instead of householders needing to pay the Council Building Control section - the massive firms dealing with GF refurb would have certified their own work inhouse - and that is an issue across the whole UK construction industry for many years.

Domestic "fuel poverty" is logically mainly prevalent in low income households - and social tenants have the lowest average household income of the 3 main tenures - that being logical outcome of changing to needs-based tenancy allocation back in 1977 and today 75% of tenants are HB claimants - as flagged in English Housing Survey 2017.

By no means all social flats have been clad to make them warmer - and of course no social houses so residents mainly have to put up with whatever heating costs they may have - and some still have electric storage heaters.

Private leaseholders are also facing personal costs in the tens of thousands to have unsafe cladding removed - with many in the interim also having to pay for 24 hr fire wardens to patrol the building.

Relevantly that same survey flags higher Tenant Satisfaction in Private rather than Social Rentals - and there has been much media coverage of that in recent past with many many social tenants having very little response from social landlords when needing repairs /maintenance.

By the 1980s social high rise blocks were out of favour and a great many have since been demolished across the UK.

As for GF total refurb cost it was not far off being pretty similar to the cost of demolition/rebuilding - noting that new build is VAT free and they had the land already. Obvs with circa 120 odd households in situ the cost of alternate housing for say 2 yrs would also have cost a fortune if rebuilding the tower - as it still is today as many former residents are still refusing multiple offers of alternate permanent housing.

As for the fire issue LFB attended within minutes but sadly had a great shortage of suitable equipment to deal with such a situation and frankly also within minutes the stairwells/corridors would have been full of toxic smoke and many attempting to vacate the building would have succumbed via smoke inhalation.

Most of us nowadays have UPVC double glazed windows which were another part of the GF refurb in pursuit of lower heating costs for low income residents - but which melt in minutes in a fire.

Clearly in retrospect GF and the hundreds of other high rise blocks fitted with cladding would be better off had it never been installed.

In a wider but relevant backstory the Govt is pursuing many measures to lower carbon emissions and that impacts residential property in eg min EPC ratings for let properties - as well as banning gas boilers for new builds from 2025 - despite electric boilers costing treble the cost of gas today. Also since 2004 conventional gas boilers were outlawed in favour of condensing boilers which in many cases last only 10 yrs - as well as having dubious claims at using less gas.

We might also ask who should be living in high rise tower blocks - eg should we exclude those with young children or the disabled or elderly - on the premise of potential difficulty in escape in event of a fire?
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey 29-Oct-2019 21:07 Message #4760940
In the past both central and local Govt were pushing tower blocks as the Capital Subsidy for new build social housing was higher for blocks with more storeys.
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd 30-Oct-2019 11:09 Message #4760982
Many people like high rise living, I find it strange too as anything higher than the third floor and I'd be getting vertigo, but I do agree that there needs to be more than one route in and out. Fuel poverty is a many headed thing, its not just tennants who are on pre-payment meters or those who are not allowed to change energy supplier as part of their contract, but those who have no mains gas available and are on single fuel tarrifs that are more expensive. I'm dubious condenser boilers too, what they save in as they cost in water, you have to run the tap for ages before it gets hot, but its hard to find alternatives to gas boilers especially if you live somewhere where everybody has gas as my parents found out.

I've seen so many problems with UPVC windows over the years, they don't fit properly they're not sealed properly, they flex with heat and cold at a different rate to the buildings material, which makes the above problems more likely.

I don't like this self certification stuff either, I've seen first hand the sort of corruption and dangers it leads to, in my halls of residence we had to have fire doors to our rooms, great you might think, except they were set in badly fitting soft wood frames that couldn't support their weight and were coming away from the walls. When I challenged the official responsible for this and asked what we should do in the even of a fire he said stay put as the door had a long burn through time, when I pointed out the frames wouldn't last that long and they had gaps around them he said it was all within regulations. I didn't believe him, but he wouldn't be budged, the student union had also raised similar concerns with him and the other higher ups and were ignored. Those of us on my wing decided our own way of getting out and we wouldn't stay put and choke to death, as we were only on the first floor and we had grass underneath us we'd rather risk broken legs from jumping.
Hierophant  Male  East Anglia 30-Oct-2019 11:14 Message #4760983
It seems the LFB are getting most of the criticism, I find the response of the media and others to this tragedy over a prolonged period of time quite uncomfortable, especially compared to the recent deaths in the lorry trailer in Essex, for example.
Anyway, I won't say any more other than the political nonsense from Michael is par for the course....
tsunamiwarrior  Male  Hertfordshire 30-Oct-2019 11:38 Message #4760984
The LFB are in an uneviable position. As every type of fire and location in the building is different how can you decide which policy of evacuation/non-evacuation to advise. Whether you sit tight in your flat, run up to the roof or down to the street the decision may still be the wrong one.
It seems the LFB accept that previous advice to remain in your flat was not the correct one in this instance but on another day with a different fire it may well have been good advice.
I hope that a lot has been learned from this tragedy which will help prevent anything similar in the future.
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey 30-Oct-2019 11:55 Message #4760985
In the past most people had what is generally called a System Boiler - where one also had the traditional hot water tank in airing cupboard (stored hot water technically) and decades ago that would in many cases have an electric immersion heater fitted. Those heater elements are less than £30 to buy if they wear out - but at around 50p an hr to run the 3Kw element they can be expensive (albeit usually fitted with a thermostat).

Later development was the Combination Boiler aka Combi which saves space in small properties such as flats - which apart from heating radiators also heats hot water on demand though as you say the tap needs running for a good while so if on a water meter that adds another cost and nowadays any house sale will involve a water meter being installed unless already in situ.

The later development in boilers was the Condensing Combi (still just called Combi as Condensing version mandatory since 2004 in most cases)

The Condensing boiler simply recirculates internally the hot exhaust gases to extract that heat so as to be a bit more efficient than non condensing version - though optimal efficiency derives from boiler running constantly for long periods.

Larger households needing lots of hot water will often be best served via System Boiler with hot water cylinder - but of course the condensing version of the boiler itself.

Govt may well back down on the banning of gas boilers in new builds from 2025 as I can imagine the consumer outcry on cost of running an electric boiler - with heating bills alone at around £3000 pa or more.
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire 30-Oct-2019 13:57 Message #4760986
The News I heard was that the fire was caused by a faulty refrigerator on the 4th floor.

I'm not sure where boilers come into it?
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire 30-Oct-2019 14:21 Message #4760987
Many are slagging off Michaelt again, that he is trying to use political dogma for his own agenda, but lets get this right.

1. The reason many of us who might keep mentioning a political connection is that our "agenda" is actually BECAUSE we do care, or at least see a connection to austerity measures, which doesn't mean the reader doesn't care, they might just not see the connection.

2. I hadn't really looked at this thread, so when I saw Michael was being attacked again I decided to see if Michael's comment had any evidence or truth attached to it.
In June 2017 The Independent published this:

"Julie Dore, leader of Sheffield City Council, which is among the authorities to have discovered unsafe cladding, said “starved” councils would be forced to make cuts to other areas, including schooling, if central government did not help with costs.

3. The building was only recently refurbished.
Prior to a fire, which began in the early hours of 14 June 2017, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and central UK government bodies "knew, or ought to have known," that their management of the tower was breaching the rights to life, and to adequate housing, of the tower's residents, according to a later enquiry by the government’s own equalities watchdog The Council is Conservative led.

“Local authorities have been starved of money over the past seven years. Our spending power has decreased,” she said. “There is no way we can afford to re clad our tower blocks. If we have to find that money, it will come from other projects, from investing in the fabric of our schools, capital investment in our infrastructure, the money has to come out of that. And it can’t really be done.
“I say absolutely, categorically that the Government should pay. If they can find £1bn to send to Northern Ireland, that gets more spending per capita than anywhere else, to buy 10 votes, then these people, living in high-rise towers, deserve better.”"

Around the same time it was published that:

"An analysis by the Local Government Association (LGA) reveals that, overall, councils will have suffered a 77 per cent decrease in the government funding between 2015/16 and next year, dropping from £9,927m in 2015-16 to £2,284m in 2019-20.

Almost half of all councils (168) will receive no support grant next year – marking a threefold rise on this year and a more than tenfold increase on 2017/18, the figures show.
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey 30-Oct-2019 14:43 Message #4760988
That was a sub thread between myself/Wonderoushen generated by my earlier comment that the type of cladding used on GF was the better of 2 possible types for thermal insulation - and that social tenants are often in fuel poverty as 75% are HB claimants.

Yes agreed initial fire source was a faulty fridge/freezer in Flat 16 - exacerbated shortly after by fire escaping to exterior of tower where the cladding then ignited ….
BOYDEL  Male  Surrey 30-Oct-2019 15:02 Message #4760989
That was a sub thread between myself/Wonderoushen generated by my earlier comment that the type of cladding used on GF was the better of 2 possible types for thermal insulation - and that social tenants are often in fuel poverty as 75% are HB claimants.

Yes agreed initial fire source was a faulty fridge/freezer in Flat 16 - exacerbated shortly after by fire escaping to exterior of tower where the cladding then ignited ….
NoSaint  Female  Devon 30-Oct-2019 15:04 Message #4760990
Many are slagging off Michaelt again, that he is trying to use political dogma for his own agenda, but lets get this right.

Of course they are and I’m sure they will continue to do so while Michael continues to post so much dross. Nobody cares about his politics and whether he cares about anything other than talking about how the Labour Party aren’t the Labour Party and asking questions but never answering them.
Lynn. Don’t you think Michael is man enough to speak for himself?

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