snopes.com  

Go Back   snopes.com > Non-UL Chat > Crash and Burn

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #21  
Old 15 June 2017, 08:27 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
Join Date: 29 December 2005
Location: Greenwood, IN
Posts: 6,536
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew of Ware View Post
When they did the work the company who did the cladding were in administration (this means they were bankrupt and were looking for a buyer). I read a report that they have now been liquidated (i.e. they're kaput).
Which means they are protected from civil liability. Criminal liability is still possible but it doesn't happen very often.

The residents complained about the quality of the work but did the fire inspectors ever issue a citation or a repair order? I would think that after the refurbishment it would have had to be re-inspected. In the US, if a building isn't up to code after construction or major renovation then it can't be occupied. I would suspect the laws are similar in the UK. The building's owners best defense may well be that the fire inspectors allowed it to be occupied. What the residents say is fairly irrelevant, it is what the inspectors said.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 15 June 2017, 11:51 PM
Richard W's Avatar
Richard W Richard W is offline
 
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 25,123
Default

I don't think you can say that the residents' concerns were irrelevant when they turn out to have been so justified... Legally irrelevant under current law, perhaps, but that argument seems to be missing the point rather.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 16 June 2017, 01:25 PM
Alarm's Avatar
Alarm Alarm is offline
 
Join Date: 26 May 2011
Location: Nepean, ON
Posts: 5,061
Default

I think there should be some discussion about the fire escape as well. Most building codes I've heard about require sufficient fire exits to allow every occupant to evacuate in a safe manner. (For example, my work building, 14 stories, but very narrow and much smaller than Greenfell, has two fire-proof stair cases and two windows on the street-facing side open on each floor to allow escape/rescue.

That a large residential tower only had one staircase seems crazy to me.
Reply With Quote
  #24  
Old 16 June 2017, 03:12 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
Join Date: 29 December 2005
Location: Greenwood, IN
Posts: 6,536
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
I don't think you can say that the residents' concerns were irrelevant when they turn out to have been so justified... Legally irrelevant under current law, perhaps, but that argument seems to be missing the point rather.
It comes down to whether they are qualified to have a usable opinion on fire safety. And it doesn't miss the point. The point is that we don't know if the building was to code or not. We don't know if the building passed inspection. The answer to those two questions are what determines if their is any liability. It also determines if changes to code or code enforcement are needed. It is possible that the building was to code and passed inspection. That completely shifts where the blame, if any, lies.
Reply With Quote
  #25  
Old 16 June 2017, 06:53 PM
RichardM RichardM is offline
 
Join Date: 27 March 2004
Location: Las Cruces, NM
Posts: 3,879
Default

I'm not sure about the laws in Great Britain, but here in the US, a project as large as the installation of the exterior cladding would require plans signed and sealed by an architect or engineer. The plans would also be required to be reviewed and approved by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ.) Those people can be held criminally liable if they did something wrong either by accident or on purpose.
Reply With Quote
  #26  
Old 16 June 2017, 07:08 PM
Andrew of Ware's Avatar
Andrew of Ware Andrew of Ware is offline
 
Join Date: 22 April 2003
Location: Ware, Hertfordshire, England
Posts: 8,013
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by crocoduck_hunter View Post
No, I'm calling for the imprisonment of whomever owned the building and was responsible for keeping it up to fire code, since numerous reports are citing claims that the building had years of complaints about failing to meet minimum fire safety requirements.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
Another issue is that the contractor who did the cladding says that it did meet the codes it needed to. That may or may not be the case, but either way, the fire regulations are obviously too weak at the moment.
The BBC noted that what the contractors said has changed very subtly. On the day after the fire they said that their work met all fire regulations, but now they are saying that the work met all building regulations. Subtle, but telling.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard W View Post
The lack of sprinklers wasn't against the fire regulations, for example. It would have been in a newly-built block, but in a block that age, there was no obligation to fit sprinklers when it was built, and no obligation to retrofit them. (I've not heard about Andrew's rumour that there were sprinklers at one time, but they were removed, though. From what I've read, there were never sprinklers, and that wasn't against the fire regulations.)
I'm sorry - I've read a correction on what was said in the first report I read. The tower block was designed in 1967 and built between 1972 and 1974. It was only much later that building regulations were changed to make sprinklers compulsory in tower blocks over a certain number of storeys. However, there was no compulsion to retrofit the sprinklers in existing blocks of flats. The parliaments of Scotland and Wales have passed laws making it compulsory to fit sprinklers in blocks of flats whenever built, but England, with no parliament of its own, has not passed any such laws. There were calls during the refurbishment last year for sprinklers to be fitted, but it fell on deaf ears.

This afternoon local residents stormed Kensington Town Hall demanding action. There is a lot of anger in the area - which is among the most deprived areas of the UK (it is in the bottom 10%). The local council is Conservative - as it has been since 1964. The Conservatives are friends of big businesses and landlords (as Richard points out many Tories are landlords).

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk...-a7793906.html

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmy101_again View Post
Which means they are protected from civil liability. Criminal liability is still possible but it doesn't happen very often.

The residents complained about the quality of the work but did the fire inspectors ever issue a citation or a repair order? I would think that after the refurbishment it would have had to be re-inspected. In the US, if a building isn't up to code after construction or major renovation then it can't be occupied. I would suspect the laws are similar in the UK. The building's owners best defense may well be that the fire inspectors allowed it to be occupied. What the residents say is fairly irrelevant, it is what the inspectors said.
A BBC report said that the last fire safety inspection for the block was in December, 2015 (i.e. from before the refurbishment). The refurbishment work would have been inspected during and after the work - but did these inspections include fire?

Last edited by Andrew of Ware; 16 June 2017 at 07:36 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #27  
Old 16 June 2017, 07:22 PM
Andrew of Ware's Avatar
Andrew of Ware Andrew of Ware is offline
 
Join Date: 22 April 2003
Location: Ware, Hertfordshire, England
Posts: 8,013
Default

Sorry about the double post, but Alarm's post makes a different point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alarm View Post
I think there should be some discussion about the fire escape as well. Most building codes I've heard about require sufficient fire exits to allow every occupant to evacuate in a safe manner. (For example, my work building, 14 stories, but very narrow and much smaller than Greenfell, has two fire-proof stair cases and two windows on the street-facing side open on each floor to allow escape/rescue.

That a large residential tower only had one staircase seems crazy to me.
The BBC showed a photograph of the fire safety notice in a nearby block of flats which is owned by the same company. It has 'stay put' advice if you are safe in your flat and there is a fire elsewhere in the block. Scroll down for the note - but the whole article is about what we know so far so is an interesting read.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-40272168

Even while the fire was catching hold residents were told to 'stay put'. The rationale was that as people left down the one stairway then they would get in the way of firefighters coming up the stairs. Fortunately, some people ignored the advice and saved their lives. Even so there are tragic stories. One person said she left her flat with six children (six!), but when she reached the ground floor she only had four.
Reply With Quote
  #28  
Old 16 June 2017, 07:32 PM
Andrew of Ware's Avatar
Andrew of Ware Andrew of Ware is offline
 
Join Date: 22 April 2003
Location: Ware, Hertfordshire, England
Posts: 8,013
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by RichardM View Post
I'm not sure about the laws in Great Britain, but here in the US, a project as large as the installation of the exterior cladding would require plans signed and sealed by an architect or engineer. The plans would also be required to be reviewed and approved by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ.) Those people can be held criminally liable if they did something wrong either by accident or on purpose.
There are calls for a criminal investigation to start. Needless to say the Daily Express (even more right wing and Eurosceptic than the Daily Mail) is blaming EU regulations.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/817...on-regulations

Sorry Daily Express, you have to look at UK laws - and especially Tory laws which favour the landlord and big business over the common person.
Reply With Quote
  #29  
Old 16 June 2017, 07:44 PM
Dreams of Thinking Machines's Avatar
Dreams of Thinking Machines Dreams of Thinking Machines is offline
 
Join Date: 20 September 2006
Location: Atlanta
Posts: 1,213
Default

I wonder if a high-rise like Grenfell would even be insurable in the USA. The combination of a single stairwell+no proper self-closing fire doors+no sprinklers makes it seem like a deathtrap regardless of cladding.
Reply With Quote
  #30  
Old 16 June 2017, 07:58 PM
Richard W's Avatar
Richard W Richard W is offline
 
Join Date: 19 February 2000
Location: High Wycombe, UK
Posts: 25,123
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew of Ware View Post
There are calls for a criminal investigation to start. Needless to say the Daily Express (even more right wing and Eurosceptic than the Daily Mail) is blaming EU regulations.
It's like they think the EU sets some sort of "maximum standard" that you're not allowed to go above, isn't it? There are perfectly good fireproof insulators available.

The company that supplied the panels has confirmed that the refitters bought the cheaper ones which weren't specifically fire-resistant:

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/...mnis-exteriors

Quote:
Omnis Exteriors manufactured the aluminium composite material (ACM) used in the cladding, a company director, John Cowley, confirmed to the Guardian.

He also said Omnis had been asked to supply Reynobond PE cladding, which is £2 cheaper per square metre than the alternative Reynobond FR, which stands for “fire resistant” to the companies that worked on refurbishing Grenfell Tower.
The Express article says the cladding was zinc, but everything else I've read suggests it was some sort of aluminium, possibly with plastic coating. Can you galvanize aluminium? Apparently not, but it seems that combining galvanized steel with aluminium can create corrosion problems. Either way I think the Express was confused about the zinc, unless everybody else is wrong.
Reply With Quote
  #31  
Old 16 June 2017, 09:31 PM
GenYus234's Avatar
GenYus234 GenYus234 is offline
 
Join Date: 02 August 2005
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 24,229
Default

Aluminum is usually anodized to prevent corrosion.
Reply With Quote
  #32  
Old 16 June 2017, 09:57 PM
Andrew of Ware's Avatar
Andrew of Ware Andrew of Ware is offline
 
Join Date: 22 April 2003
Location: Ware, Hertfordshire, England
Posts: 8,013
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreams of Thinking Machines View Post
I wonder if a high-rise like Grenfell would even be insurable in the USA. The combination of a single stairwell+no proper self-closing fire doors+no sprinklers makes it seem like a deathtrap regardless of cladding.
You're quite right. It would have been illegal in the USA on tower blocks over 12 metres (40 feet) tall. The company that made the cladding has said that the renovation company bought was not fire resistant. The fire resistant cladding was £2 a square metre more expensive. The BBC said that this would mean the whole of the building could have been covered in fire resistance cladding for just £5,000 extra. See no. 4 in the page below (it is the page I have already linked to).

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-40279944

I am not saying that there would have been deaths with proper cladding, but surely not as many. And all to save £5,000. I could weep.
Reply With Quote
  #33  
Old 16 June 2017, 10:44 PM
jimmy101_again jimmy101_again is offline
 
Join Date: 29 December 2005
Location: Greenwood, IN
Posts: 6,536
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew of Ware View Post
The fire resistant cladding was £2 a square metre more expensive. The BBC said that this would mean the whole of the building could have been covered in fire resistance cladding for just £5,000 extra.
Those numbers don't look right. 5,000 pounds means 2500 square meters. The square root of 2500 is 50. The building's total face area is much bigger than 50 x 50 meters (roughly 150x150 feet).

Still, given what it probably cost to reclad the building, the extra 2 pounds meter^2 probably wasn't all that much.
Reply With Quote
  #34  
Old 16 June 2017, 11:04 PM
GenYus234's Avatar
GenYus234 GenYus234 is offline
 
Join Date: 02 August 2005
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 24,229
Default

According to Wikipedia, the building is 67 meters tall. Guesstimating would put a side at about 19-20 meters. That would put the total surface area for the four sides at 5,027-5,360 m2. But about half the surface area is window, so the non-window area would be 2,514-2,680, pretty close. Plus the first few floors appear different and may be a different material.
Reply With Quote
  #35  
Old 23 June 2017, 03:18 PM
Psihala's Avatar
Psihala Psihala is offline
 
Join Date: 28 February 2001
Location: Denver, CO
Posts: 7,382
Default London Grenfell Tower fire: Police say manslaughter charges possible

London's Metropolitan Police said Friday that manslaughter charges were possible in last week's devastating apartment tower fire, and investigators are focusing on an appliance as the cause.

At least 79 people were killed when flames quickly engulfed the 24-story building.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/london-g...rges-possible/
Reply With Quote
  #36  
Old 23 June 2017, 03:27 PM
GenYus234's Avatar
GenYus234 GenYus234 is offline
 
Join Date: 02 August 2005
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 24,229
Default

I say string the appliance up, life in prison!

Wait. You say that the appliance is not the target of the manslaughter charges? Can't be, just read that headline.
Reply With Quote
  #37  
Old 23 June 2017, 05:30 PM
Blatherskite's Avatar
Blatherskite Blatherskite is offline
 
Join Date: 06 February 2006
Location: Yorkshire, UK
Posts: 3,893
Default

Forgive me if I'm going off on one here, but something has just occurred to me.

The Great Fire Of London in 1666 'only' killed about 8 people, and yet children learn about it in school even today. The Grenfell Tower Fire killed at least 79 people and yet I doubt that it will be widely remembered in 50 years time let alone in 351 years.

Is it because the Great Fire was the first of its kind? Or are we as a species just more concerned with destruction of property (the Great Fire took out a good portion of the city) than with the end of lives?
Reply With Quote
  #38  
Old 23 June 2017, 05:54 PM
WildaBeast's Avatar
WildaBeast WildaBeast is offline
 
Join Date: 18 July 2002
Location: Folsom, CA
Posts: 14,556
Default

I would guess it was like you say, because it took out such a large portion of the city. In a historical context it would have played a role in how London redeveloped in its aftermath.

The Grenfell Tower Fire might be taught if it ends up leading to a major change in government policy or in people attitudes about public housing. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire is taught in the US, but mostly in the greater context of the labor movement in the early 20th century, about how it led to some of America's first workplace safety laws and spurred the growth of labor unions.
Reply With Quote
  #39  
Old 23 June 2017, 05:57 PM
Lainie's Avatar
Lainie Lainie is offline
 
Join Date: 29 August 2005
Location: Suburban Columbus, OH
Posts: 73,214
Default

That's what I was going to mention -- that big fires like that can drastically change a city. After a fire in 1889, Seattle regraded its hills and used the fill to raise its streets by 22 feet.
Reply With Quote
  #40  
Old 23 June 2017, 06:06 PM
GenYus234's Avatar
GenYus234 GenYus234 is offline
 
Join Date: 02 August 2005
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 24,229
Default

Anything big and dramatic will take a place of importance be it massive loss of property or massive loss of life. A fire that destroys half the city is going to be remembered.

Also, there were few recorded deaths from the fire, but death recording would have be limited, especially among the poor. The true death toll could have been in the thousands.
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Dork Tower: SeverTember! TallGeekyGirl Snopes Spotting 0 25 September 2016 10:54 PM
At house fire, man tells news crew: ‘I set it on fire’ A Turtle Named Mack Police Blotter 4 25 November 2014 02:49 PM
In the Ivory Tower, Men Only snopes Social Studies 0 17 June 2013 07:31 PM
Fire, Not Explosives, Felled 3rd Tower on 9/11 snopes Spook Central 2 23 August 2008 04:29 AM
Leaning Tower of Pisa No Longer World's Most Lopsided Tower llewtrah Trivia 3 06 November 2007 09:12 AM


All times are GMT. The time now is 07:26 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.