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Grenfell Tower: residents had predicted massive fire


With regard to the comment at 10.13, Sam Webb has been quoted in the Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/14/disaster-waiting-to-happen-fire-expert-slams-uk-tower-blocks “A disaster waiting to happen,” is how the architect and fire expert Sam Webb describes hundreds of tower blocks across the UK, after the fire at Grenfell Tower in Kensington that has left at least six people dead. “We are still wrapping postwar high-rise buildings in highly flammable materials and leaving them without sprinkler systems installed, then being surprised when they burn down.” Webb surveyed hundreds of residential tower blocks across the country in the early 1990s and presented a damning report to the Home Office, which revealed that more than half of the buildings didn’t meet basic fire safety standards. He said: “We discovered a widespread breach of safety, but we were simply told nothing could be done because it would ‘make too many people homeless’. “I really don’t think the building industry understands how fire behaves in buildings and how dangerous it can be. The government’s mania for deregulation means our current safety standards just aren’t good enough.” Risk assessment and fire engineering factoring down the risk with the BS 9999 approach is one approach to safety. Airliners have built in 'redundancy' type systems of safety, if one system fails there is a back up. The BS 9999 approach contains elements of engineering; but not that much redundancy. Large tower blocks could be seen by some as being like air liners. If the logic and approach of the technical design is not built in reality; as per the specification or drawings, or there is too much hanging on one part of the engineering, then if failure occurs, life safety hazard situations may occur. Should external Class O PIR insulation , or any other type of insulation be mandatory as Class O where there is possibility of air and fire being drawn through external compartments on tall buildings? Personally, I think a bit more redundancy with things like 2 means of escape ( emergency external stairs even, as in the USA ) and a dedicated firemans lift and stair would help people sleep more easily in their beds; I would not think that this was an 'over reaction' that would put developers out of business in the residential sector given property values? This is as much a philosophical view than a more mechanistic one based on evacuation calculations, discounting floor occupancy populations, and the like for alternate means of escape. I am sure this discussion will continue, brought about by a tragic situation which should be resolved sensibly, going for conflict resolution rather than the opposite.

Posted date

14 June, 2017

Posted time

10:20 pm