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Acid In The Punch Bowl

Fire at Grenfell Tower, London. Not looking good.

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I though Grenfell Tower has been completely refurbished a few years ago. Surely it complied with the latest fire codes. Seems odd that it would burn so easily.  

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Wow

 

https://grenfellactiongroup.wordpress.com/2016/11/20/kctmo-playing-with-fire/

 

It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the  KCTMO, and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders. We believe that the KCTMO are an evil, unprincipled, mini-mafia who have no business to be charged with the responsibility of  looking after the every day management of large scale social housing estates and that their sordid collusion with the RBKC Council is a recipe for a future major disaster.

It is our conviction that a serious fire in a tower block or similar high density residential property is the most likely reason that those who wield power at the KCTMO will be found out and brought to justice!

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This appears to be the company that did the recent refurbishment:

http://www.rydon.co.uk/news/rydon-lands-grenfell-tower-refurbishment-

http://www.rydon.co.uk/what-we-do/refurbishment/case-studies/refurbishment-case-studies/grenfell-tower

Quote

The £10m project included extensive remodelling of the bottom four floors creating nine additional new homes, improved communal facilities for the residents, and improved spaces for two local businesses. Externally, rain screen cladding, replacement windows and curtain wall façades have been fitted giving the building a fresher, modern look.

The council website mentions this refurbishment too:

https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/housing/regenyour-neighbourhood/grenfell-tower

Quote

Grenfell Tower, on the Lancaster West Estate in North Kensington, has been undergoing major refurbishment.

The tower block is managed by the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) on behalf of the Council and contains 120 homes. It was built in 1974.

The large scale works included the installation of insulated exterior cladding, new double glazed windows and a new communal heating system. A new communal entrance has been created and there are new facilities for returning tenants, Grenfell Under 3s Nursery and Dale Youth Amateur Boxing Club. Nine much needed new homes have been created from unused spaces.

 

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Here is a live view on youtube from RT:

It looks like the facade is burning, which means the materials used for refurbishment were not flame proof.

My guess is they used Styrofoam insulation which has been repeatedly shown to be highly flammable, despite claims to the contrary from manufacturers.

 

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This photo clearly shows how it's the external insulation that allows the flames to jump from one floor to the next, therefore enabling a simple flat fire to become a whole building fire:

5940be1ec46188b8228b458f.jpg

 

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What I've heard so far:

Alarms not going off/going off in hallway only

No sprinkler system

Residents warning last year the place was a fire hazard

The escape routes full of suitcases/used for storage

Gas pipes running through the escape stair well. Residents had complained

Little advice to residents what to do in the event of a fire. What little there was was to stay put and wait for fire service

Flammable building cladding

Also the cladding seems to have produced awful plastic fumes.

 

Nightmare. Will be massive blowback. Probably have to condemn half the tower blocks in London

 

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Greedy developers are buying up 70s concrete tower blocks and office buildings, slapping some cladding on them to dress them up, and selling for top prices. I can't believe locals are buying them, it must be foreign buyers and councils.

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Owners are facing corporate manslaughter charges, there are too many cowboy landlords out there maybe this will be the tipping point

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It also looks like there were no fire-stops in the building, little, if any, means of escape and that the burning cladding facilitated the spread. Someone should hang for this. ?

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3 hours ago, GTFO said:

Apparently there had been concerns about the cladding.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/705261/Abu-Dhabi-tower-fire-blaze

Quote

 

In July a fire broke out in the residential 75-storey Sulafa Tower in Dubai's upscale Marina District, while on New Year's Eve a blaze hit a Dubai hotel and in February 2015 there was a fire at a 79-storey residential tower in the emirate.

In some of those cases, experts said the flames may have been encouraged to spread by exterior cladding, used for decoration or insulation. The UAE revised its building safety code in 2013 to require that cladding on all new buildings over 15 metres (50 feet) tall be fire-resistant, but older buildings are exempt.

 

There are many more properties that have been converted into Roman Candles.

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What will be the after-effect on London apartments prices? About 60k to be finished soon, not all of them are in tower blocks of fire hazard, but the perception of being a potential risk.

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My HA does seem nannyish at times but they make an effort to stay up to date with the regs. Last week they sent out some kind of tort letter because there was a buildup of unclaimed mail. Was only enough to half fill a carrier bag but to them, it's a fire risk and has to go.

Would have been easier and quicker for whoever identified the 'risk' to have  binned it themselves but I suppose that breaks the rules somehow.

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Extensive work was recently completed at Grenfell Tower, at a cost of £10m, in July 2016, by the Rydon construction group.

Built in the 1970s, the exterior was given cladding and replacement windows as part of the recent works, according to the company's website.

It also says additional homes were added on the first four floors.

Internally, a new, more efficient communal heating system and bespoke smoke extract and ventilation system were fitted. The works achieved a BREEAM Good rating and Rydon helped the client secure eco funding grants.

Cllr Nick Paget-Brown, the leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, visited the site in May and said:

“It is remarkable to see first-hand how the cladding has lifted the external appearance of the tower and how the improvements inside people’s homes will make a big difference to their day-to-day lives”

“As well as this investment, in a relatively short space of time Grenfell Tower residents have benefitted from a brand new academy and leisure centre, which represents our ongoing commitment to North Kensington.”

Click here for more information on Rydon’s refurbishment projects.

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London Firefighters Struggling With Blaze That Engulfed 24-Storey Block of Flats

Firefighters are trying to put out a huge blaze which has engulfed the 24-story Grenfell Tower apartment building on the Lancaster West Estate, London.

More than 200 firefighters and 40 engines have been dispatched to tackle a huge fire at Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, near Notting Hill, in West London. The London Fire Brigade and Metropolitan Police were called to the scene at 1:16 am local time (00:16 GMT). Additionally, over 100 medics are working on the scene of the fire, London Ambulance said.

https://sputniknews.com/europe/201706141054609190-london-fire-24-storey-block/

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12 minutes ago, Habeas Domus said:

Extensive work was recently completed at Grenfell Tower, at a cost of £10m, in July 2016, by the Rydon construction group.

Built in the 1970s, the exterior was given cladding and replacement windows as part of the recent works, according to the company's website.

It also says additional homes were added on the first four floors.

Internally, a new, more efficient communal heating system and bespoke smoke extract and ventilation system were fitted. The works achieved a BREEAM Good rating and Rydon helped the client secure eco funding grants.

Cllr Nick Paget-Brown, the leader of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, visited the site in May and said:

“It is remarkable to see first-hand how the cladding has lifted the external appearance of the tower and how the improvements inside people’s homes will make a big difference to their day-to-day lives”

“As well as this investment, in a relatively short space of time Grenfell Tower residents have benefitted from a brand new academy and leisure centre, which represents our ongoing commitment to North Kensington.”

Click here for more information on Rydon’s refurbishment projects.

Presumably the cladding was completely fire retardant? I would expect it to have been tested in a lab and to barely catch fire at all under testing conditions.

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this will be pretty ugly. 

I wouldn't bet against many of these cheap flats being illegal HMOs tenanted with "unregistered" migrants who would be completely off the radar and may never be found or identified. I fear the death toll will be high. 

ANd moreover it will give impetus for authorities to clear out and demolish the remaining tower blocks around London for "health and safety" (and gentrification as a "side effect"). 

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