Re conclusion point 4. It’s very easy to say that modular contruction will improve standards but such a sweeping assumption isn’t necessarily correct because:
(1) modular construction tends to apply to main structural elements, leaving fitout including much or even most of the critical fireproofing to site work, ie not under factory control.
(2) From what I’ve seen, I’m seriously worried about the quality of much of the UK’s off-site industry, including the obsession with foam-filled SIPS panels which I understand at least one major insurer will no longer cover; lack of vapour control measures with inherent risk of interstitial condensation; and apparent lack of interest in cold bridging. I know of only two offsite manufacturers that I would personally have sufficient confidence in to specify for my clients, and only as part of a construction package that includes a very high standard of follow-on site work.
So my personal view is that the problems stem from a very poor regulatory environment that this government seems intent on worsening in the name of free market liberalisation and ‘escape’ from European standards that will no doubt improve business profits, but worsen safety conditions for building users and take the rug from under those who are hoping to improve
the knowledge and commitment of those training to work in the construction industry.
Domestic sprinklers installed by a reputable firm such as Staysafe can cost under £2k for a small flat or around £5k for a small house. Having seen film of how a domestic fire can reach 400 degrees flashpoint in just 5 minutes, it seems to me like a no-brainer to make sprinklers mandatory to secure people’s safety. Thank you Jane / RIBA for you persistence with this initiative.
Tom’s actions demonstrate that he is a person of the highest integrity. As a youngster said to me recently “while the legal system seems confused (about how to respond appropriately), we can see what is right.”
I believe that the poor quality of fire protection is a general problem in new build properties. Lenders ultimately carry the risk and it would seem to be in their interests to ensure that purchasers of any property obtain an independent fire survey from a reputable specialist surveyor. These people do exist, eg Arnold Tarling. The cost of the survey could be deducted from the purchase cost, and if a survey reveals serious problems, the vendor ought to be made to pay (by legislation) the cost of the survey whether or not the purchase proceeds. This would protect lenders and the public.
I understand that a Councillor Martin Kluke led the call for demolition of Amin's much-praised building? If so, is this the same person who on LinkedIn is an architectural technologist at AHMM, and who says in his profile he is spending quite a lot of his spare time as a councillor? If so, this seems weird to me and somewhat disturbing.