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Thread: Cladding

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    Re: Cladding

    Quote Originally Posted by ik9000 View Post
    fyi grenfell tower was a traditional reinforced concrete frame. it was not prefab.
    Can you give a link to that info. I've been trying to find out exactly how Grenfell was constructed. According to the 1984 documentary, for many of the blocks, the wall slabs and floor slabs were cast in a factory. There were supposed to be a reinforced steel mesh set at one depth and an insulating layer set at another depth, but according to inspectors they were poorly constructed(In the doc, the government inspector kept passing on his reports about construction, about workers who didn't understand the implications of what they were doing or not doing, to the contractors. The government keeps all the reports). I'm still reading this massive document The Tower, here are some more damming quotes;

    'The UK government in time produced its own set of improved fire safety recommendations, Approved Document B, which, it was suggested, should be adhered to by all building authorities in the UK. It was revised in 2010, with a new regulation:

    ‘In a building with a storey 18m or more above ground level any insulation product [or] filler material used in the external wall construction’ should ‘be of limited combustibility’.(the 'limited combustibility' replacing the 'inhibited' as used in a Scottish regulation after a fire in a block in Irvine in 1999).

    As you are aware this incident is being use as propaganda not least by the Corbynistas, but all evidence points to Labour's continued failings.

    'Over the last twenty years pressure groups working on behalf of the construction industries, encouraged by the Blair government’s deregulation mania and the ‘commercialisation of safety’ that came with it, allowed industry to flout regulations and fake tests and call it normal practice. The marketing of insulation products is notably misleading and contractors are known to use combinations of products that have not been tested together. These two things are believed to be behind the fire at Grenfell Tower. Other people would be found to blame, but manufacturers, and those who help them get away with unacceptable standards of fire safety, are the culprits in this case. The plastic insulation industry is one of the most litigious in the world, but it is common knowledge among fire safety experts that their advertisements and their tests are bogus'.

    'A well-trained and experienced fire consultant, [Carl] Stokes did the fire assessment at Grenfell Tower before the refurbishment, but he was not called back by the TMO after the work was completed'. Looking at this incident, and realising how many buildings are covered in cladding, is like opening a pandora's box onto the true state of council properties in this country.

    Okay I've just found this by the lead architect> 'This basement is approximately four metres deep and in addition has two metres of concrete at its base. This foundation holds up the tower block and in situ concrete columns and slabs and pre-cast beams all tie the building together'. So I interpret that as the columns are accident proof, but the; slabs,'pre-cast beams', walls and floors, were all pre fabricated. What he means is everything else other than the columns; will be destroyed(incl; tenants), or become unsafe after a fire.
    Last edited by johnroe; 03-06-2018 at 03:23 PM.

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    Re: Cladding

    AFAIK the vast majority of those 60's prefab tower blocks featured in that 1984 documentary have been demolished, exactly for the reasons mentioned, IIRC the Ronan point collapse was the catalyst for a change of regulations, structural integrity tests for old and new buildings, and a fall in public opinion of tower blocks even though it was only really LPS (large panel system, prefab) built blocks that were questionable.

    Grenfell was constructed in the wake of Ronan point and as such was constructed with structural integrity as its core design principal (Although not authoritative all that information's on wiki articles so if you want to verify it be my guest), the central core that contained the lifts and stairs was constructed in-situ along with the floors and external perimeter columns, Grenfell was anything but structural weak.

    IMO playing a game of political point scoring rather seems to be missing the point as we can point the finger of blame at governments of all hues from the 1960's onwards.

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    Re: Cladding

    Quote Originally Posted by Corky34 View Post
    AFAIK the vast majority of those 60's prefab tower blocks featured in that 1984 documentary have been demolished, exactly for the reasons mentioned, IIRC the Ronan point collapse was the catalyst for a change of regulations, structural integrity tests for old and new buildings, and a fall in public opinion of tower blocks even though it was only really LPS (large panel system, prefab) built blocks that were questionable.

    Grenfell was constructed in the wake of Ronan point and as such was constructed with structural integrity as its core design principal (Although not authoritative all that information's on wiki articles so if you want to verify it be my guest), the central core that contained the lifts and stairs was constructed in-situ along with the floors and external perimeter columns, Grenfell was anything but structural weak.

    IMO playing a game of political point scoring rather seems to be missing the point as we can point the finger of blame at governments of all hues from the 1960's onwards.
    I agree about political point scoring, but that's the world we live in, where everything is politicised(and Grenfell was a political issue even before the fire, and was instantly seized upon by the radical Left before the flames had been extinguished).

    I was just referring to that wiki article(and back to Architect's article), so I got the part about Ronan Point. Maybe the architect would have been right in that those concrete columns set in concrete would have 'stood for a hundred years', but the pre constructed parts were vulnerable. The standards were so low compared to today. Building tech, and the building of high rise blocks would be safe by today's high standards of design and construction. But he probably didn't foresee the council covering the block in flammable 'insulation' and aluminium. It seems there are many contractors and sub contractors working on these projects, little communication between all parties, including tenants, and no one taking overall responsibility for safety.

    I recently contacted council officials over some concerns about fire risks for tenants(they're contractors were sealing off fire escapes), I also asked a fire safety inspector(working for Fire service) to check the work. They have a department that do specifically that. They referred me back to the council official. If tenants don't allow the work to be done, they are threatened with eviction.

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    Re: Cladding

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    Can you give a link to that info. I've been trying to find out exactly how Grenfell was constructed.
    a number of the industry publications require subscriptions to view online. I think building should be free to all however: https://www.building.co.uk/focus/gre...088257.article

    Quote Originally Posted by buildling.co.uk
    The building features an in-situ concrete core and concrete escape stair and lifts in the centre. The floors are in-situ concrete with the flats arranged around the core. This is a straightforward and standard form of construction that is widely used today.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    Okay I've just found this by the lead architect> 'This basement is approximately four metres deep and in addition has two metres of concrete at its base. This foundation holds up the tower block and in situ concrete columns and slabs and pre-cast beams all tie the building together'. So I interpret that as the columns are accident proof, but the; slabs,'pre-cast beams', walls and floors, were all pre fabricated. What he means is everything else other than the columns; will be destroyed(incl; tenants), or become unsafe after a fire.
    I'm not sure what precast beams are being referred to - if he means the spandrel panels on the outside, then they presumably were precast (they look it), but the main frame SFAIK was insitu RC throughout. They could have used precast beams, but it would be odd to do insitu core, columns, and floors and only install precast beams. To do so much insitu and limited precast would make for an odd programme and erection sequence. Installing precast cladding after the main frame is in place would make sense, and is more common. However there is no hard-and-fast rule and they did some weird stuff back in the 50s and 60s, but this was a 70s build IIRC and things were starting to settle down a bit more then (generally - though there are always exceptions)


    Edit -for those wanting to read more, including the BRE report - the evening standard website has a good summary article, but more importantly a publicly viewable scan of the BRE report itself.
    https://www.standard.co.uk/news/lond...-a3814866.html
    Last edited by ik9000; 03-06-2018 at 04:52 PM.

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    Re: Cladding

    ik9000>thanks for link. I just said modern tech in building is advanced. I'd been looking at old films of massive concrete slabs being tested. One reinforced with steel mesh, one not. A steel weight shattered the second. But modern casting techniques with fibres and internal beams of steel are able to with stand the loads and stresses.

    But contrary to that, if you really have to clad a building, and looking at the selection, why would any company, make a flammable cladding with a chimney gap between it and exterior aluminium with low melting point. That's supposed to be modern tech aluminium sheen covering up the real issues.

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    Re: Cladding

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    ik9000>thanks for link. I just said modern tech in building is advanced. I'd been looking at old films of massive concrete slabs being tested. One reinforced with steel mesh, one not. A steel weight shattered the second. But modern casting techniques with fibres and internal beams of steel are able to with stand the loads and stresses.

    But contrary to that, if you really have to clad a building, and looking at the selection, why would any company, make a flammable cladding with a chimney gap between it and exterior aluminium with low melting point. That's supposed to be modern tech aluminium sheen covering up the real issues.
    as the BRE article, it's not what was intended, but a plethora of poor details and poor workmanship contributed to what happened. That chimney effect should not have occurred; fire stops should have been of the right size, orientation etc to prevent it. The fire also should not have burst to the outside from the flat to begin with. The windows should not have been swapped for melty plastic. The windows should have fit the gaps available, and not relied on 150mm (yes not a typo) 150mm of rubberised sealant to make up the short-fall. etc etc etc.

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    Re: Cladding

    ik9000> There's a common theme behind all of this, and it stretches back to the late sixties. They talked about about the new system built housing as experimental, it hadn't been tested just theorised. The test subjects were the tenants. There have been complaints about the quality of the buildings for all the time they've stood.

    And again with the cladding, it was designed on a desktop and never tested in situ. Well now we have the results. But really in the twenty first century people shouldn't be living like that, now we can mass produce reasonable and definitely safe housing.

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    Re: Cladding

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    ik9000> There's a common theme behind all of this, and it stretches back to the late sixties. They talked about about the new system built housing as experimental, it hadn't been tested just theorised. The test subjects were the tenants. There have been complaints about the quality of the buildings for all the time they've stood.

    And again with the cladding, it was designed on a desktop and never tested in situ. Well now we have the results. But really in the twenty first century people shouldn't be living like that, now we can mass produce reasonable and definitely safe housing.
    I disagree, and would caution against trying to generalise here. Most things are designed in an office and built elsewhere. That is the nature of construction, and one does not simply prototype a building. The panels are tested to industry standards, and the design application based on the performance values can be readily applied. NB that the design was varied later on site for cost-saving reasons (according to one article I read, and no I can't give a source now). Either way, no amount of sound design can deal with the muppet on site not installing the firestop properly. That is a workmanship issue, and prototyping also would not have picked that up. This is where my earlier comments on lack-of clerk-of-works roles and resident engineer/resident architect come in - those roles traditionally would have been detecting such problems BEFORE they could be concealed and viewing prevented ahead of the monthly walkover.

    If you really want to politicise this then go back to Thatcher's abolotion of the standard fee scales that were "anti-competitive" and so created the pressure to race-to-the-bottom on fees and under resource projects financially. The only people who benefited were the rich corporate clients. Computer tech helped the industry weather some of the storm, but each recession there is a leap down in fees and they never recover before the next one hits. So roles get cut, from every side: design office, on site, at the contractor's end, at the council and building control offices, etc etc. There needs to be a reality check about the true cost of construction, and clients need to start to accept that bargain basement fees cannot be sustained. IMO there needs to be a shift back towards accepting costs need to be higher, so the right people get employed again (and given time to do their jobs to 100% thoroughness instead of 75% while rushed, harried and constantly doing unpaid overtime off their own backs). That's not to say people are cutting corners, but that the ability for a design architect/engineer to spend all day on a site to inspect every single location just isn't there, so they can't do it. And there's no RE/RA/CoW, so who does it? The contractor? In theory, but that assumes the site team is big enough, and as we can see from the errors highlighted by BRE, that didn't work so well...

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    Re: Cladding

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    I agree about political point scoring, but that's the world we live in, where everything is politicised(and Grenfell was a political issue even before the fire, and was instantly seized upon by the radical Left before the flames had been extinguished).
    The world we live in is the one we choose to create, if you don't like political point scoring then don't engage in it yourself, trying to lay the blame at a particular premierships door like you've been doing makes it seem like you've lost your objectivity as your more concerned with blaming that premiership than the issue of cladding.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    I was just referring to that wiki article(and back to Architect's article), so I got the part about Ronan Point. Maybe the architect would have been right in that those concrete columns set in concrete would have 'stood for a hundred years', but the pre constructed parts were vulnerable. The standards were so low compared to today. Building tech, and the building of high rise blocks would be safe by today's high standards of design and construction. But he probably didn't foresee the council covering the block in flammable 'insulation' and aluminium. It seems there are many contractors and sub contractors working on these projects, little communication between all parties, including tenants, and no one taking overall responsibility for safety.
    That's besides the point and why you've given me the impression that you're not being objective and i get the impression I'm not the only person to have picked up on that.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    I recently contacted council officials over some concerns about fire risks for tenants(they're contractors were sealing off fire escapes), I also asked a fire safety inspector(working for Fire service) to check the work. They have a department that do specifically that. They referred me back to the council official. If tenants don't allow the work to be done, they are threatened with eviction.
    Without knowing more details it's difficult to form an opinion on that as it could be for any number of reasons, it could be because a new regulation mandated improvements and without those it would be unsafe for people to live there, it could be because they were renting and sadly it's sometimes easier for landlords to just evict obstructive residents, it's basically anyone guess.

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    Re: Cladding

    Quote Originally Posted by ik9000 View Post
    I disagree, and would caution against trying to generalise here. Most things are designed in an office and built elsewhere. That is the nature of construction, and one does not simply prototype a building. The panels are tested to industry standards, and the design application based on the performance values can be readily applied. NB that the design was varied later on site for cost-saving reasons (according to one article I read, and no I can't give a source now). Either way, no amount of sound design can deal with the muppet on site not installing the firestop properly. That is a workmanship issue, and prototyping also would not have picked that up. This is where my earlier comments on lack-of clerk-of-works roles and resident engineer/resident architect come in - those roles traditionally would have been detecting such problems BEFORE they could be concealed and viewing prevented ahead of the monthly walkover.

    If you really want to politicise this then go back to Thatcher's abolotion of the standard fee scales that were "anti-competitive" and so created the pressure to race-to-the-bottom on fees and under resource projects financially. The only people who benefited were the rich corporate clients. Computer tech helped the industry weather some of the storm, but each recession there is a leap down in fees and they never recover before the next one hits. So roles get cut, from every side: design office, on site, at the contractor's end, at the council and building control offices, etc etc. There needs to be a reality check about the true cost of construction, and clients need to start to accept that bargain basement fees cannot be sustained. IMO there needs to be a shift back towards accepting costs need to be higher, so the right people get employed again (and given time to do their jobs to 100% thoroughness instead of 75% while rushed, harried and constantly doing unpaid overtime off their own backs). That's not to say people are cutting corners, but that the ability for a design architect/engineer to spend all day on a site to inspect every single location just isn't there, so they can't do it. And there's no RE/RA/CoW, so who does it? The contractor? In theory, but that assumes the site team is big enough, and as we can see from the errors highlighted by BRE, that didn't work so well...
    That was the other major theme, cost cutting. It was interesting to see how the major construction companies(Wimpeys,etc) courted the council officials. How the council inspectors had no idea about these new building concepts. Even if they tried to do their job, the site itself made that difficult. Workers talked of lowering flooring slabs into place but with only an inch of support on either side(instead of 6"), and then not attaching them to the wall itself. Government inspectors were ignored, cost was everything. Mass production at it's worst.

    So yes to improving standards, yes to investing in more quality housing. It really can have a negative affect on whole generations, psychologically. Yes I'm no fan of Thatcher either, and her selling off of stock should have been matched by new builds. I expect the Cons to favour the elite and corporate world. I'm equally amazed at how everything Labour touches turns to dust.

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    Re: Cladding

    Corky34>keep your insinuations to yourself, of course I'm not being objective(I'm human!). But facts are facts in the case of which government started mass systematic building, which government made decisions that led to the buildings being used past their expiry date, and then being required to warehouse people until they can be found a suitable accommodation. These families are desperate for homes.

    We live in a politicised world and there's no point ignoring it. If you don't understand hard Left politics then you don't understand why everything has to be politicised, it's pretty much the basis of the whole ideology.

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    Re: Cladding

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    Corky34>keep your insinuations to yourself, of course I'm not being objective(I'm human!). But facts are facts in the case of which government started mass systematic building, which government made decisions that led to the buildings being used past their expiry date, and then being required to warehouse people until they can be found a suitable accommodation. These families are desperate for homes.
    Sorry but that's not how public debate works and it wasn't an insinuations, it was an opinion and as much as you may dislike it I'm perfectly entitled to form my own opinions, if you don't like it perhaps you need to think about why someone has formed that opinion of you.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    We live in a politicised world and there's no point ignoring it. If you don't understand hard Left politics then you don't understand why everything has to be politicised, it's pretty much the basis of the whole ideology.
    As the idiom goes, the world is a reflection of ourselves, perhaps if all your coming across are people who you believe are politicising everything then maybe, just maybe, there's a reason for that.

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    Re: Cladding

    Corky34>I know how public debate works. I agreed with you, I'm not objective. That's pretty much the whole problem with Grenfell and the catastrophic housing solutions. The main problem with a 'machine for living in' concept, is it works fine until it's actually filled with tenants. Everything about the builds and constant refurbishment, shouts 'objectivity'. Everyone involved from architects, to councils, to contractors thought rationally and objectively, right down to economic objectivity. The result is obvious, and there have been many 'accidents'. But really it's tenants who first of all should be consulted, because it seems to me that that hasn't happened in certain areas of housing. Housing subjective issue.

    Are you kidding me, 'the world is a reflection of ourselves'(that's a whole other tangent!). The reason I understand hard Left politicisation is it's part of the reading list at uni. But actually that social experiment has been shown to have repercussions, so now it seem to me that a political balance is being found, that includes all the people who live here, not just those that want to protect their assets.

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    Re: Cladding

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    I expect the Cons to favour the elite and corporate world. I'm equally amazed at how everything Labour touches turns to dust.
    and therein you summarise my quandry every time it comes to an election. When both options are duffers, what is a person to do? (rhetorical question - not for this thread)

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    Re: Cladding

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    The main problem with a 'machine for living in' concept, is it works fine until it's actually filled with tenants.
    Don't get me started on a rant at Corbusier and his chums, but suffice to say these buildings are not entirely loyal to his principles and are not "machines to benefit the occupants". Some of their genesis might lie there, but it's not really a model of the full thing. (and suffice to say I disagree with the concept of inducing social utopia through enforced community anyway - that being part of the reason at least that it ticked the communists' boxes) It's been a while now since I last read up on this stuff, and I'm stretching the bounds of my memory so I will defer to others on what the whole sphere of his movement was to encompass. Some of the core objectives, of the building serving the users' needs, and trying to optimise layouts to facilitate it, are no bad thing. So you can't throw the baby out with the bathwater. But the ideal of social harmony by cramming everyone in units vertically, and then giving them all a shared garden? Yeah, we kind of know from the multiple different countrieus who did that, that it doesn't work so well in practice.

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    Re: Cladding

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    Corky34>I know how public debate works. I agreed with you, I'm not objective. That's pretty much the whole problem with Grenfell and the catastrophic housing solutions. The main problem with a 'machine for living in' concept, is it works fine until it's actually filled with tenants. Everything about the builds and constant refurbishment, shouts 'objectivity'. Everyone involved from architects, to councils, to contractors thought rationally and objectively, right down to economic objectivity. The result is obvious, and there have been many 'accidents'. But really it's tenants who first of all should be consulted, because it seems to me that that hasn't happened in certain areas of housing. Housing subjective issue.
    If you know how public debate works then why tell someone to keep their insinuations to themselves? As i said everyone is allowed to voice their opinion and implying that someone should shut-up just because you don't like what they're saying isn't very constructive.

    If as you suggest "that's" the whole problem with these catastrophic housing solutions, whatever that means, then why were/are there many people who say they loved living there and the sense of community, if as you say the 'machine for living in' concept is flawed then why have people fought demolition orders and said they like living in such housing.

    I suggest that you're taring all these housing solutions with the same brush and generalising far to much, are there bad housing solutions, yes. Are there housing solutions that should be torn down for safety reasons, again yes. But not all Grenfell esc housing solutions are bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by johnroe View Post
    Are you kidding me, 'the world is a reflection of ourselves'(that's a whole other tangent!). The reason I understand hard Left politicisation is it's part of the reading list at uni. But actually that social experiment has been shown to have repercussions, so now it seem to me that a political balance is being found, that includes all the people who live here, not just those that want to protect their assets.
    No I'm not kidding you, from reading your comments over the last few pages you've given me the distinct impression that you've lost your objectivity because it seems your more interested in blaming a particular premiership despite you yourself admitting there's been problems for over half a century.

    When you politicise an issue you're inviting a response in kind as people feel the need to defend their ideology and by joining in you're only adding fuel to the fire when we should be focusing on the objective facts

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