The cause was a simple fire that should have been easy to contain and
stop. We often complain about regulations, but they would have saved
lives here. Looks like most of the world does not allow flammable
material, but the Brits allow it.
I also find it unconscionable for Alcoa to make a product that is known
to burn and is not approved in much of the wold. Hey, it cheaper and
the Brits will buy it. A bunch of people should end up in jail from this.
Two major problems in addition, either of which would have made a huge
difference. There was only one stairwell so people couldn't get out. The
other is because of one stairwell, the emergency plan was that people
should shelter in place. Since the burning was outside on the cladding,
it should have given people plenty of time to get out before breaking
through and entering the building.
On Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 1:05:51 PM UTC-4, Ed Pawlowski wrote:
Good find Ed. It confirms what I said in my earlier post, that
this is a classic example of why building codes are important
and just letting people do as they please is a very bad idea.
One could argue that it happened with codes, but obviously the
UK is way, way behind on reasonable safety codes. It was built
in the 70s and you certainly couldn't have built that building
in a major city in the US with no fire alarms, no sprinklers,
one stairwell, no fire escape back then. That it was just
renovated without correcting any of that is beyond belief.
The windows were not designed to be firestops, as the original
exterior was just plain, ugly, non-flammible concrete. Fire was never
SUPPOSED to come racing up the outside of a "fireproof" concrete
That said, I don't know of anywhere else in the "civilized world"
where a building like that could be occupied with only one staircase
and no central fire alartm or smoke alarm sytem - even if it didn't
Arconic (Alcoa) has two varieties of Reynobond, PE and FR, with FR
standing for 'fire resistant'. For many applications the cheaper PE
would be fine.
Architects and structural engineers are expected to evaluate materials'
suitability for the project at hand. Somewhere along the line somebody
said "Let's go cheap.' I would follow the chain from Omnis Exteriors,
Harley Facades, and Rydon Maintenance to the building owner.
Having been involved in engineering I'm willing to bet that all along
the way there were people saying "This is a bad idea, but the big boss
says 'Do it!'"
I'm not an Arconic shareholder or fan but pointing to them is like a
homeowner installing the cheapest possible vinyl siding and then
bitching when it fades and cracks within 10 years.
On Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 1:18:19 PM UTC-4, rbowman wrote:
The essential difference is that fading doesn't kill people, while
fire does. And that it was well documented for decades that this
type of product was a fire hazard. No further engineering evaluation
is needed to know that this crap should not have been used. We even had
the spectacular UAE skyscraper fire, all over the news, with
videos, just a year ago, which used the same stuff. Even Arconic
had a do not use warning for other parts of Europe, but not
for the UK. It's a very bad case of bad corporate behavior.
If your siding fades, will you die? I've been involved in making some
building materials for years and in the industry there may be some
cheaping out on thickness, density, other dimensions but no one ever
substituted regular material for the FR. In some applications it did
not matter but you did not take that chance.
My guess is their ass will be in the courts. They certainly would be in
IF the insulation faded instead of burned, people would still be alive
today. Follow the money.
It won't be Arconic on the block, it will be whoever signed the
authorization to install the PE instead of the FR. That MAY be someone
on London Council ( it is a council building) or it may be the
contractor (who chisled on the deal and bought PE instead of FR
product for the job)
On Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 3:26:00 PM UTC-4, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
So, you've never seen cases where everybody, especially the deep pockets ge
t sued and they either settle it or wind up with a verdict against them? H
ere it seems they have a case against the manufacturer. Arconic knew it was
a fire hazard if used in buildings over 30 ft high. They had dire
ctives in other countries not to use it that way. I'd say they are partly r
I am following the money. Arconic makes two versions of Reynobond with
recommendations for each. It is up to the end user to determine
Let me put this another way. I want a 4x8 sheet of 3/4" CDX for the bed
on my motorcycle trailer, so I drive over to Home Depot. I see standard
CDX for about $25 and fire retardant for $42. I don't plan on my trailer
bursting into flame or killing anyone if it does so I go for the $25.
Were I sheathing an interior staircase I would spend the $42. Is the
plywood manufacturer culpable for offering two products? Or is it my
problem if I build my shack with the cheapest material available and it
Judging from the minimal or sub-minimal standards used in the
construction they would have built it from tissue paper and sealing wax
if they could have gotten away with it. They aren't alone. I see OSB and
papier-mâché castles going up every day.
Yes, but the US web site only shows one. I did not find two versions.
Why is that? Could it be they only offer one version here?
Residential, commercial, industrial construction has different codes
than motorcycle trailers. You won't see a lot of flammable materials
allowed. Go to Home Depot and you won't find flammable insulation,
period. You can decorate your artificial Christmas tree with
firecrackers, sparklers, and gas cans but you won't find an artificial
tree made with flammable materials.
But the paper mache is covered according to code. Arconic knows it is
not acceptable in other places and why, yet they offer it in the UK.
Irresponsible and immoral, IMO. The courts will decide.
No , the Brits don't allow it on buildings over something like 9
meters high. The regulations SPECIFICALLT do not allow it to be used
as it was on high-rizes - but nobody is doing proper inspections, and
nobody is following the regulations. You can regulate an industry to
within an inch of it's life, but if the regulations are not enforced,
or are not enforced uniformly, those in the industry know what they
can get away with, and where they can cut corners without being caught
- so the regulations are totally ineffective.
There are many applications where the darn stuff is legal, and eveb
relatively safe. Just like styrofoam (or EPS) insulation board. It is
"safe" when covered with drywall, but is NOT safe to be used where it
is left exposed. How many places do you see it glued to a basement
wall, or nailed up in a garage, and left totallt exposed???
Should it be illegal for it to be made and sold (for it's intended
purpose) just because idiots use it where they shouldn't?
On Sunday, June 25, 2017 at 1:38:49 PM UTC-4, email@example.com wrote:
Where did that come from? Did you even read the NYT article?
It said exactly the opposite, that UK had no regulations saying
it could not be used as it was. Which isn't that surprising
considering they allowed it to be built in the first place
with no fire alarms, no sprinklers, no firescape, one stairwell.
And then just now they allowed it to be renovated without
requiring any of the above.
You can regulate an industry to
On 6/25/2017 1:38 PM, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
But the Styrofoam and eps is at least a fire retardant material to start
with. It will put itself out if the source of ignition is taken away.
The foam is safer than the old coated paneling that was popular in the
70s and it was proven by Factory Mutual tests. Over 45 years I've
personally done hundreds of tests on the finished product and have some
in my own house and garage.
IMO, it is safer exposed than the flammable stuff that was used in
The BIG problem with the Grenfell product, other than the flamability
of the plastic and the toxic fumes, is the fact it is like CorPlas,
with air channels running up and down, providing a chimney effct,
turning the burning panels into blowtorches shooting flames many feet
up the walls from each panel. IMHO, a very bad engineering design
combination. I get WHY it was designed that way - it is self draining
and self ventilating.
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