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Thread: Cladding

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    Re: Cladding

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    Exactly. And that was the thrust of Dame Judith Hackitt's report - to simplify and update the building regulations and the enforcement of them.
    I can't say I've read the report but if, as you imply, the thrust is that we should be prescribing what can be used and how it should be installed then i agree.

    The main reason i resurrected this old thread was because i didn't understand the 'public's' (read QT audience) and media being angry that it didn't call for certain cladding to be banned, that's just not how we go about safety, we normally expect something to be proven safe rather than unsafe and calling for certain cladding to be banned seems to fly in the face of that, effectively all cladding is already banned unless it's proven safe.

    Unfortunately in the case of Glenfell it seems either the cladding, the way it was installed, or the rules governing what's considered safe seem to have failed.

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    Re: Cladding

    Quote Originally Posted by Corky34 View Post
    ....

    Unfortunately in the case of Glenfell it seems either the cladding, the way it was installed, or the rules governing what's considered safe seem to have failed .
    From what I can make of it, all of the above.

    It's certainly not as simple as 'ban the cladding'. The problem seems to be not just the material but the system -what it's combined with, how, and how it's installed. The biggest single issue seems to me to be a wholly inadequate testing regime aand regulatory environment, the use of "desktop" studies, and a kind-of cosy conspiracy among all parties, from leguslators and building regulators down, to do things on the cheap.

    Simply banning certain products invites missing the core of the problem, thereby dooming us to repeat the mistake, simply un a slightly different way. What's needed, IMHO, is a revised regime that takes a systemic approach. We're in danger of concentrating on individual ingredients in a cake, and failing to notice that what people eat is the finished baked cake.
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    Re: Cladding

    Quote Originally Posted by Corky34 View Post

    The main reason i resurrected this old thread was because i didn't understand the 'public's' (read QT audience) and media being angry that it didn't call for certain cladding to be banned, that's just not how we go about safety, we normally expect something to be proven safe rather than unsafe and calling for certain cladding to be banned seems to fly in the face of that, effectively all cladding is already banned unless it's proven safe.
    Civil engineering is complex (as are most engineering disciplines) and sadly the large majority of the population don't understand these complexities and latch onto the obvious but not necessarily correct solution. The populist media are there to sell copy and latch onto the mood - so it becomes self-fulfilling.

    It becomes more complex in that while something may meet the required standards when installed, over the lifetime of the building there may be modifications (approved or otherwise) that may cause what was a safe installation to become unsafe (blocking vents, or introducing new vents are two simple examples).

    Quote Originally Posted by Corky34 View Post
    Unfortunately in the case of Glenfell it seems either the cladding, the way it was installed, or the rules governing what's considered safe seem to have failed.
    Yes, thats true - but there hasnt been any comment on the initial cause of the fire - which (IRRC) was caused by a faulty freezer. But why did that catch fire? Was it fused correctly or installed correctly? How up to date was the electrical installation in the flats? Faults do occur, but safety measures should be such to prevent them escalating. In this case there may have been multiple failures - failure of the householder's equipment, failure of the electrical safety measures in that flat, and then failure of the building's fire safety structure and the materials used and its installation..
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    Re: Cladding

    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    Civil engineering is complex (as are most engineering disciplines) and sadly the large majority of the population don't understand these complexities and latch onto the obvious but not necessarily correct solution. The populist media are there to sell copy and latch onto the mood - so it becomes self-fulfilling.

    It becomes more complex in that while something may meet the required standards when installed, over the lifetime of the building there may be modifications (approved or otherwise) that may cause what was a safe installation to become unsafe (blocking vents, or introducing new vents are two simple examples).



    Yes, thats true - but there hasnt been any comment on the initial cause of the fire - which (IRRC) was caused by a faulty freezer. But why did that catch fire? Was it fused correctly or installed correctly? How up to date was the electrical installation in the flats? Faults do occur, but safety measures should be such to prevent them escalating. In this case there may have been multiple failures - failure of the householder's equipment, failure of the electrical safety measures in that flat, and then failure of the building's fire safety structure and the materials used and its installation..
    There have been some excellent articles in the ICE, IStructE and Architect's Journals on Grenfell. Your point about the electrical fire is true, in that, if wired correctly it should not have started, but things do break, and fires do start. To paraphrase the arcticles: Buildings should not become a tinder box like that one did. End of. That is summarising the Building Regulations. A predictable event should be contained and prevented from becoming an uncontrollable catastrophic one. That it did is because multiple failings ultimately became a failure to comply with the fire regulations, but each of those failings in isolation seems really minor and trivial. The thrust of the inquest conclusion that a holistic overhaul is required is correct IMO because there simply is not the overarching thorough oversight on construction projects anymore. Architects no longer control every last detail, half the time they're not even the contract administrator anymore, so lack the whip. That role goes to a project manager, or worse a project coordinator, who is basically a politician sitting between the client and the design team/contractor. Quite often (not always, there are good ones too) but often they're simply money men, and their focus is always programme and budget. Just who you want to give the reigns to right? And the architects and engineers trying to make sure things are done properly get lent on by PMs and QSs who are desperately trying to get their ambitious programmes and mis-valued budgets delivered so they don't look bad in front of the client. (not always, but it's not unusual). Then you get Design & Build contracts where the contractor has all the power over what ultimately gets built. The good ones are ok, but the bad ones, oh everything is about profit, make it cheaper, "I don't care about the people living here, make it cheaper" and "how little can we do but still be able to say we've complied with the employer's requirements?" are two choice lines from one meeting. (that in regard to intercom systems and whether a tenant should be able to buzz people through every security door, or simply the first one (of three) off the street).

    Olden times you would have 1) a clerk of works on site permanently, signing off everything that gets built, and checking it matches the design to the letter. They would also query the design itself if needs be. Sometimes you would also have a resident engineer if things were really complicated. Now you only tend to get that on major civil projects, or occassionally something like the Shard. On top of that you would have a rigourous and skilled professional as the Building Control Officer, overseen by an even scarier and more senoir District Surveyor. It's not their responsibility to oversee the design as such, but they have a legal position to determine whether what is being built complies with the Building Regulations. Back then if building control asked for stuff you jumped to it. And if they had an issue with your design it was an uncomfortable experience. Now all that skill and knowledge is gone. It's outsourced (largely) to firms where while the firm might hold expertise, half the decisions seems to be made by junior folk, and it's not always clear how much they actually check thoroughly. If you do have staff at a council, they're largely overworked, underpaid and the good ones with all the knowledge are being shuffled off to retirement so they can cap the final salary scheme and reduce wage bills in favour of younger less experienced staff with far less generous terms of employment. The handover and transisition of knowledge gets broken, and you end up with absurd situation I recently had where I had to explain to a young council worker how to basically do his job in quite a serious matter (public safety vis collapsing site hoarding) - and that based on knowledge I'd obtained on a 1 day course run by one of that guys former colleagues.

    The changes to the CDM regulations in 2015 now make it very very clear that every client, even domestic ones, procuring construction work MUST ensure that all people undertaking that work 1) are competent to do so, 2) are given sufficient time and resources to undertake that work safely and appropriately and 3) are given all the information and support they need to do that.

    Sadly too many clients 1) will take the cheapest offer they get, ignoring that bit about competency if it suits them 2) are unrealistic about timescales, and want everything too quickly, and "value engineer" everything to minimise their expenditure, while actually burning their designer's fees and the chop-and-change in a hurry means things will get missed in the holistic picture. as for 3) find me a client who has bothered to keep record drawings. Most places have thrown out their archives to save money, as have council building control departments.

    It's the same with councils too. A bean counter at one rather grand council decided the microfiche store cost too much unnecssary money. So now all the drawings and details have gone, never to be seen again, and we have access to just 12 years of records. I won't name the borough, but suffice to say it is predominantly old buildings, and rather grand ones at that - not many of which have been built in the last 12 years.
    Last edited by ik9000; 19-05-2018 at 03:02 PM.

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    Re: Cladding

    Then there is also the question of the culture at the TMO (the client in Grenfell's case). Having lived in one of their buildings, and choosing my words carefully mindful of libel rules, I can only say that when works were carried out to the building I lived in, I was suprised at the process taken, the quality of work carried out, and the costs charged to the leaseholders for said extent and quality of work. I can well understand the sort of comments I'm reading in the press from those who lived in the Grenfell Tower and surrounding estate about feeling marginalised, not taken seriously, and not listened to by the TMO. Many people in the block I lived in would have said the same. I remain glad to be shot of them (the TMO).

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    Re: Cladding

    There are multiple factors here. Many tenants in these blocks do have cheap/old appliances(often donated to charity organisations that refurbish them). Some wouldn't have understood what to do, or were given contradictory advice(stay in flat, etc). Hallways and escape routes were partially blocked. And all cladding except the absolute top of the range, has a point where it can become flammable. Aluminium is unsuitable as once it burns it adds to the ferocity.

    But the real problem here is you cannot keep buildings standing that had a life span for reasons of degradation. They are out of date in every way and totally unsuitable for families. Knock them all down and give people affordable housing.

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    Re: Cladding

    Here's a good one for you. I would lay the blame for the death by fires in blocks, and also most of the problems the UK is facing with one person; Tony Blair and his policies. (Although no doubt I'm biased, I stopped voting Labour the moment he decided to validate Bush's war on Iraq).

    Let's start with Iraq, if you look back over it's history particularly since the First world war, you will quickly see it's importance in terms of having 20% of the world's oil resources, to it's position strategically. Both the UK and US were heavily involved with Saddam's government. They knew what weapons he had because UK and German companies had supplied those weapons. The chemical weapons he used against the Kurdish people were supplied covertly by America. They wanted him to use them against Iran.

    So while simultaneously destroying Iraq, they opened up a space and ideology behind the IS caliphate, which they extended into Syria. The CIA and MI6 hoped to destabilise Syria by supplying weapons to those opposed to Assad, but they ended up arming IS and bringing Russia into the conflict. Hence TB is responsible for importing Fundamentalist Islam to the UK, while justifying their attacks on the UK(in their eyes the UK and US invaded Arab countries first).

    Wtf has that to do with overcrowded buildings in the UK that are being used to 'warehouse' immigrants, I hear you shout. In the late seventies the Conservative government drew up plans involving the rights of British subjects living in the Commonwealth. At that time they realised that 450 million people had the right to come to the UK, so they put in restrictions controlling the entry.

    The EU and TB decided to undermine this; reduced those restrictions, while simultaneously inviting millions of immigrants from countries that have no link to the Commonwealth. EU officials went to these countries and instructed immigrants to 'make up a story that would get them considered for asylum', then all they had to do was enter the Schengen zone and head for the UK. The EU and Labour councils diverted the EU Social fund to build them a new life in the UK. They didn't understand how many would make the trip, and how many in the world would view this as ' an open door ' policy.

    When these councils and the Labour party bring millions of immigrants into this country it's purely a political statement(they brought 2.3 M from one small African country that only has double that as a population). The reality is it's detrimental to the people of the UK(partially responsible for EU referendum vote), but also they didn't build any new houses, schools or health centres to accommodate these new arrivals before they arrived. Hence families are living in out of date buildings, where the overcrowded families are trapped by being high up in a burning building, with only a narrow stair well to escape by.

    Maybe the reason not enough houses are being built is austerity. TB's associate Brown deregulated the financial sector, leading to it's collapse and bail out. Everything's connected, and it all leads back to TB's disastrous policies. 'Cladding' is just a means of covering up a problem that most want to ignore.

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    Re: Cladding

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    Here's a good one for you. I would lay the blame for the death by fires in blocks, and also most of the problems the UK is facing with one person; Tony Blair and his policies. (Although no doubt I'm biased, I stopped voting Labour the moment he decided to validate Bush's war on Iraq).

    Let's start with Iraq, if you look back over it's history particularly since the First world war, you will quickly see it's importance in terms of having 20% of the world's oil resources, to it's position strategically. Both the UK and US were heavily involved with Saddam's government. They knew what weapons he had because UK and German companies had supplied those weapons. The chemical weapons he used against the Kurdish people were supplied covertly by America. They wanted him to use them against Iran.

    So while simultaneously destroying Iraq, they opened up a space and ideology behind the IS caliphate, which they extended into Syria. The CIA and MI6 hoped to destabilise Syria by supplying weapons to those opposed to Assad, but they ended up arming IS and bringing Russia into the conflict. Hence TB is responsible for importing Fundamentalist Islam to the UK, while justifying their attacks on the UK(in their eyes the UK and US invaded Arab countries first).

    Wtf has that to do with overcrowded buildings in the UK that are being used to 'warehouse' immigrants, I hear you shout. In the late seventies the Conservative government drew up plans involving the rights of British subjects living in the Commonwealth. At that time they realised that 450 million people had the right to come to the UK, so they put in restrictions controlling the entry.

    The EU and TB decided to undermine this; reduced those restrictions, while simultaneously inviting millions of immigrants from countries that have no link to the Commonwealth. EU officials went to these countries and instructed immigrants to 'make up a story that would get them considered for asylum', then all they had to do was enter the Schengen zone and head for the UK. The EU and Labour councils diverted the EU Social fund to build them a new life in the UK. They didn't understand how many would make the trip, and how many in the world would view this as ' an open door ' policy.

    When these councils and the Labour party bring millions of immigrants into this country it's purely a political statement(they brought 2.3 M from one small African country that only has double that as a population). The reality is it's detrimental to the people of the UK(partially responsible for EU referendum vote), but also they didn't build any new houses, schools or health centres to accommodate these new arrivals before they arrived. Hence families are living in out of date buildings, where the overcrowded families are trapped by being high up in a burning building, with only a narrow stair well to escape by.

    Maybe the reason not enough houses are being built is austerity. TB's associate Brown deregulated the financial sector, leading to it's collapse and bail out. Everything's connected, and it all leads back to TB's disastrous policies. 'Cladding' is just a means of covering up a problem that most want to ignore.
    Interesting conspiracy theory, but try and get a passing relationship to facts before posting next time. Focussing on your claim that "they brought 2.3 M from one small African country that only has double that as a population", since it's the most glaring error, the total number of individuals resident in the UK who were born in africa is 1.4 M [1] - substantially less than your claim for a single "small african country". The most common country of birth for african-born individuals in the UK is South Africa, with 245,000 individuals [2] - that's an order of magnitude less than your claim, and SA is just a little bit larger than 5 M people (again, an order of magnitude off the true figure of 56 M! [3]). Do you have any substance to your claims, or are they all similar garbage?

    [1]: https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulat...andnationality Data for the most recent time period (june 2016 - june 2017), table 1.1
    [2]: Same source, table 1.3
    [3]: http://cs2016.statssa.gov.za/?portfo...011-fact-sheet

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    Re: Cladding

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    But the real problem here is you cannot keep buildings standing that had a life span for reasons of degradation. They are out of date in every way and totally unsuitable for families. Knock them all down and give people affordable housing.
    Can I just flag that one of the conclusions in BRE's expert witness report was that the building stood up precisely because it was an older design. Newer buildings are more efficiently designed. That optimisation (made possible thanks to FEM, CAD-CAM and greater confidence in structural material strength quality/consistency etc) means that a modern building would probably have collapsed under the same event since it would have had far less redundancy in the concrete members. Modern fire periods for a building of that scale would be 2 hours generally, key areas like the core might be asked to provide 4 hours max (since a modest height building like that should be evacuated within that time frame, and the fire should be contained within a given compartmentation until the fire brigade deal with it). The fire was not contained, it went out of control. But the building stood up for a lot longer than a few hours, and under a much much more severe fire case.

    Old buildings FTW (when they've been properly built).

    It is entirely appropriate to try to modernise old buildings for greater energy efficiency. The cost, and carbon footprint of that is far lower than demolishing a usable frame, forming new foundations, building an entirely new frame, and then refitting it from scratch. Also where do you put all the residents for the two years it would take while that went on? A refit can be phased so only a few people need to live offsite for any given time. (The one thing the TMO did get right was not making us all move out when they did the works on the building I lived in. It was a PITA, but better than the upheaveal of moving out for x months). In terms of carbon footprint, two of the biggest contributors to our national (and in fact global) CO2 emissions is from steel and cement* production. So the two most common building materials for building those new apartment buildings. It is not wise to simply tear everything down. Then bear in mind that modern planning regs about housing density, and developer's greed, means that new buildings have far smaller room sizes and less storage than stuff built to proper Parker-Morris standards in the 70s and 80s before PM got abolished. Find me a tenant who wants to have less square meterage of habitable and storage space. One of the issues RBKC is having in rehousing those tenants is that the stuff they are offering them is so much smaller they're rejecting it because "it's not equivalent to what I had before".

    I'm not saying everything old is good, there was some real rubbish built, but quite often the frames themselves can be retained and the building given a new lease of life. The real crap, oh we're tearing it down, don't you worry. Unless some muppet goes and gets it listed. Then we're all stuck with it, and can't even improve it (not in the way it might need anyway).

    *cement = key constituent of concrete
    Last edited by ik9000; 20-05-2018 at 11:55 PM. Reason: footnote added

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    Re: Cladding

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    There are multiple factors here. Many tenants in these blocks do have cheap/old appliances(often donated to charity organisations that refurbish them). Some wouldn't have understood what to do, or were given contradictory advice(stay in flat, etc). Hallways and escape routes were partially blocked. And all cladding except the absolute top of the range, has a point where it can become flammable. Aluminium is unsuitable as once it burns it adds to the ferocity.

    But the real problem here is you cannot keep buildings standing that had a life span for reasons of degradation. They are out of date in every way and totally unsuitable for families. Knock them all down and give people affordable housing.
    One has to wonder where you're going to put this affordable housing? Or is the brilliant plan to move everyone out of the borough away from their family and friends? Why stop there, plenty of space up in the highlands.

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    Re: Cladding

    Quote Originally Posted by Butcher View Post
    One has to wonder where you're going to put this affordable housing? Or is the brilliant plan to move everyone out of the borough away from their family and friends? Why stop there, plenty of space up in the highlands.
    well if you're the labour MP for Merton* the answer is apparently the green belt. Because you know, who doesn't want to live close enough to cycle to work, but would rather commute for 45 minutes on a train, and hey this way those rich developer types can keep building their unaffordable luxury flat blocks for sale to the Asian and Arab markets and keep making zone 1 a less and less inhabited showcase. The answer IMO is to stop foreigners from buying property until we hit a point where supply exceeds demand. Make the planners dictate that truly affordable housing is needed in zone 1 and 2 and stop this march for shiny glass boxes. If they're not allowed to build them they'll start building stuff people actually need. And in areas where it might actually benefit central London workers. I miss the days where I could leave work, be home by 6.30 and eating at a sensible time. Now I'm lucky if I get home by 8pm. Every day. It sucks, and my free time, hobbies, diet, exercise all get gobbled up effectively by TFL and Southern Rail.

    *as reported in the Evening Standard last week

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    Re: Cladding

    Quote Originally Posted by Corky34 View Post
    There's no need to be facetious
    It works great in the civil engineering arena...

    Quote Originally Posted by Corky34 View Post
    there wouldn't be people living on the streets because we already know what is safe to use
    Asbestos was safe, once upon a time.
    Things change.

    Quote Originally Posted by Corky34 View Post
    the entire population of London didn't spend decades living on the streets as we already knew brick and stone is not combustible.
    It also wasn't prohibitively expensive back then.
    These days, with all the regulation on who can make bricks and how they must be made, tested, proven safe and up to standard, not everyone can afford to make them in a field like they used to... now it is the domain of companies who can afford all that, so the market is restricted, which means the price goes up, which means the price of housing goes up.
    So either people go homeless because they can't afford to buy, or you find more economical ways of making a house that is affordable to those people, which starts with finding ways to use lower quantities of fewer materials that cost less.

    Quote Originally Posted by Corky34 View Post
    we normally expect something to be proven safe rather than unsafe and calling for certain cladding to be banned seems to fly in the face of that, effectively all cladding is already banned unless it's proven safe.
    Things like standing on the desk to reach the ceiling are generally safe, though... until the one time someone falls off it, and suddenly it's branded unsafe stupidity and banned.
    That's just how it goes.

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    Re: Cladding

    Quote Originally Posted by ik9000 View Post
    well if you're the labour MP for Merton* the answer is apparently the green belt. Because you know, who doesn't want to live close enough to cycle to work, but would rather commute for 45 minutes on a train, and hey this way those rich developer types can keep building their unaffordable luxury flat blocks for sale to the Asian and Arab markets and keep making zone 1 a less and less inhabited showcase. The answer IMO is to stop foreigners from buying property until we hit a point where supply exceeds demand. Make the planners dictate that truly affordable housing is needed in zone 1 and 2 and stop this march for shiny glass boxes. If they're not allowed to build them they'll start building stuff people actually need. And in areas where it might actually benefit central London workers. I miss the days where I could leave work, be home by 6.30 and eating at a sensible time. Now I'm lucky if I get home by 8pm. Every day. It sucks, and my free time, hobbies, diet, exercise all get gobbled up effectively by TFL and Southern Rail.

    *as reported in the Evening Standard last week
    I wonder if a better solution would be to move more jobs out of London. Unlikely to happen of course, but it would help the housing costs and commuting times immensely. Not to mention raise many people's standard of living.

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    Re: Cladding

    Quote Originally Posted by Ttaskmaster View Post
    It works great in the civil engineering arena...


    Asbestos was safe, once upon a time.
    Things change.


    It also wasn't prohibitively expensive back then.
    These days, with all the regulation on who can make bricks and how they must be made, tested, proven safe and up to standard, not everyone can afford to make them in a field like they used to... now it is the domain of companies who can afford all that, so the market is restricted, which means the price goes up, which means the price of housing goes up.
    So either people go homeless because they can't afford to buy, or you find more economical ways of making a house that is affordable to those people, which starts with finding ways to use lower quantities of fewer materials that cost less.


    Things like standing on the desk to reach the ceiling are generally safe, though... until the one time someone falls off it, and suddenly it's branded unsafe stupidity and banned.
    That's just how it goes.
    Material standards have been the norm since the turn of the 20th century, in the forms of British Standards, with the British Standards Insitute founded in 1900 IIRC. Amongst the first ones of those were for harmonising steel production member sizes (BS4) and material quality (BS15) in 1903. There were more informal agreements between like-minded parties before then too, but it was born of the collective need to bring some uniformity to the chaos that was before then with each plant doing their own thing and making it a nightmare to specify and procure products either competitively or speedily (if one plant had a back log).

    Anyone is still able to make bricks however they want. In a field, if it suits them, like the chaps down at Freshfields Brickworks. https://www.agg-net.com/aggregates/f...brickworks-ltd. Bricks, still handmade, in a field and baked in a barn. Go there. It's a good day out. They just have to test their bricks and supply them with CE marking to use them in construction. The sort of Health & Safety and quality control benchmarking that is required precisely to stop cheap knock-off shonky good for nothing disaster waiting to happen imitations from being used. Which most people agree is a good thing when your life depends on the building you're in not collapsing around you when the wind blows. The tests are cheap, a standard brick strength test is a couple of hundred pounds. To get a plant certified, sure that probably does cost £10k-£100k depending on the scale and number of products, but a small one man band doesn't need to get hundreds of different products certified so it's all relative.

    If you think the price of housing is linked to the cost of bricks you are sadly mistaken. It's (in no particular order): the cost of land, the cost of skilled workers; the shortage of skilled workers placing a limiting cap on how much can be built at any given time;the complexities of dealing with brownfield sites in urban environments with all those party wall awards; discharging planning pre-commencement conditions; jumping through the necessary hoops to obtain listed building and heritage consents; obtaining highways and rail infrastructure compliances for works near those; water authority build-over, build-under and diversion/connection consents; modern BREEAM, sustainability and energy use targets complicating the modern building design and construction processes; the need for companies to make enough profit to pay their workers, pensions, and taxes - yes construction companies actually pay their taxes unlike many financial services who do their utmost to dodge it. Then there's the client's demand to maximise profits, squeeze as much into a given site as possible - that does not make for cheap simple builds. On top of that you have the need to get geotechnical site investigations, hydrogeological assessments, and flood risk assessments to enable the designs to be developed. Those companies are a limited resource, and there's only so much kit and laboratory test space available so there's only so fast that stuff can get done. It's not uncommon for projects to get delayed just to get all these surveys discharged. And that's before any has said the words "planning objection appeal"... Additionally you have situations where x project needs y tower crane, and the special close-tolerance sheet piling rig, but there's only two of those in the country and they're booked for the next 13 months already... nothing puts the breaks on like that chestnut.

    All building materials are subject to the same economic factors - petrol costs, energy costs, import/export duties, the costs of raw materials, shipping, etc. Steelwork costs fluctuate far more rapidly than brick costs, and have far more influence on new buildings, since whether you go steel framed or concrete framed, both need steelwork (reinforcement for the latter). The price rises in high grade steels and stainless steels due to nickle, copper and vanadium prices has been huge in recent years, and it is not unknown for jobs to stall, or even pan altogether due to the initial approved budget no longer being viable once the current £per tonne are factored into the cost plan.

    But by far the biggest barriers IMO to building new homes are 1) the issue of labour. It's not land - there's enough of that, people who scream about greenbelt are just lazy developers who say "it's quickest" when what they really mean is "it's cheapest and so I get most profit from it". It's labour. It belies the fact that thanks to government drives to push people into higher education and a services-based economy there simply aren't enough folk doing apprenticeships and learning the trades. We were limping by before by supplementing our dwindling pool of trades with foreign labour that was cheap and skilled. They were grafters (mostly) and put some of our chaps to shame. But Brexit is putting more of a squeeze on that; fewer people are now coming here to work because of the long-term uncertainty. The net result is less labour resource in the pool, so less ability to build as much at any given time. And also in that situation quality drops because people have to grab whoever they can find to fill the void - whether they've any good or not. and 2) the fact that so many bigger firms are pursuing the luxury market because it's more profitable for them (and frankly more fun to work on) which creates a further resource and skills vacuum at the more modest domestic end.

    Your comments regarding asbestos and standing on desks are correct, but we do move on from accepting worker deaths building viaducts and the forth rail bridge, to believing that it is right a worker should go home alive and uninjured to see their family at the end of the day. Those pesky processes exist to protect against that. Maybe if those can-do eager builders at Caddogan Square had done a bit more risk assessment and followed proper processes to move that sofa those poor chaps wouldn't have fallen to their deaths on those railings. Paperwork is a hassle, until you realise it exists to pick up on problems before they're really big ones. Maybe if someone at Grenfell had done a bit more inspection and sign-off of the fire breaks people might still be alive. It's not red-tape and proper processes that slow down building. It's the people who try to bypass it, cock it up, and then bring down closer scrutiny on everyone else as a result. A bit more planning and supervision in these two cases could have gone a long way: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-43033511, http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...pensation.html .

    (as would not employing a plumber to build a basement - but that's another story for another day...)
    Last edited by ik9000; 21-05-2018 at 03:08 PM. Reason: typo

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    Re: Cladding

    Quote Originally Posted by Butcher View Post
    I wonder if a better solution would be to move more jobs out of London. Unlikely to happen of course, but it would help the housing costs and commuting times immensely. Not to mention raise many people's standard of living.
    yes absolutely it would. It's crazy to try and squeeze so much into one place, particularly when there is actually a housing surplus in large parts of north England, but no jobs so people don't want to be there.

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    Re: Cladding

    Quote Originally Posted by ik9000 View Post
    Anyone is still able to make bricks however they want.
    You don't think building inspectors would have a MASSIVE hissy fit if I got some bricks made up by my local mate Joseph and built myself a house with it, then?

    Quote Originally Posted by ik9000 View Post
    In a field, if it suits them, like the chaps down at Freshfields Brickworks. https://www.agg-net.com/aggregates/f...brickworks-ltd. Bricks, still handmade, in a field and baked in a barn.
    !Michelmersh Brick Holdings PLC, a UK stock market listed company currently owns six of the UK’s most recognised premium brands: Blockleys, Carlton, Charnwood, Freshfield Lane, Michelmersh and Hathern Terra Cotta.[/quote]
    So again, back to everything being governed by large companies, who can afford all this compliance...
    How much do these specialist hand-made bricks cost, anyway?

    Quote Originally Posted by ik9000 View Post
    The tests are cheap, a standard brick strength test is a couple of hundred pounds. To get a plant certified, sure that probably does cost £10k-£100k depending on the scale and number of products, but a small one man band doesn't need to get hundreds of different products certified so it's all relative.
    Many other small companies in various industries have had to shut down, precisely because every product does have to be tested in every conceivable configuration.
    Vaping is the big headline one at the minute - 20 flavours must be independently tested in each nicotine strength of 0, 3, 6, 9, 12 and 18mg. That's 120 tests at several thousand a pop, making a good half a mil before you're allowed to sell one item... and if you have someone else make it but put your own shop label on it, you're considered a manufacturer and have to get all those tests done all over again at your own expense.

    Quote Originally Posted by ik9000 View Post
    If you think the price of housing is linked to the cost of bricks you are sadly mistaken.
    Not bricks specifically, but material costs are one of many factors (which you've already covered in excellent detail), the testing and certification of which still takes time and money, as do all those other factors, hence the seeming need for putting money and profit over and above peoples' lives in reference to Corky's post... So on the one hand, yes, of course they would put profit first, but on the other it's still cheaper and quicker to just identify faults and discard something, than to rigourously test and prove it in numerous ever-so-slightly-different applications over and over again.

    Quote Originally Posted by ik9000 View Post
    Those pesky processes exist to protect against that.
    Not arguing that concept.
    However, most of those processes have come about because someone has hurt themselves and thus something is then identified as unsafe.
    Obviously it goes too far - We cannot take off our hard hats if our jackets are wet, unless we're also wearing eye protection... but until that was proven unsafe, no-one batted an eyelid!
    Thus stands my argument regading proven safe vs proven unsafe and the ease of each.

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