Did UK Government Climate Mania Contribute to the Grenfell Tower Disaster?

Grenfell Tower
Grenfell Tower. By Natalie Oxford – https://twitter.com/Natalie_Oxford/status/874835244989513729/photo/1, CC BY 4.0, Link

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

The flammable building cladding which helped turn Grenfell Tower into a blazing torch which killed at least 58 people on the 14th June this year may have been chosen in part due to its climate credentials.

Grenfell Tower cladding that may have led to fire was chosen to improve appearance of Kensington block of flats

Material would help make the flats look better from outside, planners noted

Andrew Griffin @_andrew_griffin Thursday 15 June 2017 08:59 BST

The cladding that might have led to the horrifying blaze at Grenfell Tower was added partly to improve its appearance.

During a refurbishment aimed at regeneration last year, cladding was added to the sides of the building to update its look. The cladding then seems to have helped the fire spread around the building, allowing it to destroy almost the entirety of the structure and kill people inside.

And that cladding – a low-cost way of improving the front of the building – was chosen in part so that the tower would look better when seen from the conservation areas and luxury flats that surround north Kensington, according to planning documents, as well as to insulate it.

A number of conditions were attached to the 2014 decision to approve the plan – many of which related specifically to the material used in the cladding, so that the council could ensure the “living conditions of those living near the development” were “suitably protected”.

The council noted that the cladding would also improve insulation, helping keep sound and cold out from the building, and improve ventilation. An environmental statement said that the “primary driver behind the refurbishment” was to address the insulation and air tightness.

“The reclad materials and new windows will represent a significant improvement to the environmental performance of the building and to its physical appearance,” the planning application reads. “The design of the scheme as a whole has fully considered policy requirements, expectations and aspirations, fully taking into consideration the immediate and wider surroundings, particularly focussing on creating a wider environment that works as a coherent place,” another part of the same document says.

That planning application concludes with a statement that “the development will provide significant improvements to the physical appearance of the Tower, as well as the environmental performance and the amenity of its residents”.

Read more: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/grenfell-tower-cladding-fire-cause-improve-kensington-block-flats-appearance-blaze-24-storey-west-a7789951.html

According to Wikipedia, the cladding used was a mixture of aluminium sheet and Aluminium coated Polyethylene. Polyethylene is a relatively good heat insulator – at least compared to Aluminium, which is a good heat conductor. Production of polyethylene is also much less carbon intensive than producing aluminium, so a sheet of cladding which contains Polyethylene is likely “greener” than a sheet of cladding made entirely of Aluminium.

But Polyethylene is highly flammable.

The type of cladding used on the Grenfell building is reportedly banned for use on tall structures in the USA, due to the fire risk.

I used to be involved with local government in the UK. During this time the council I was involved with was subject to relentless pressure from the UK national government to consider greenhouse gas emissions with every decision. Compliance was often rewarded with increased funding.

I am not suggesting that anyone deliberately sacrificed the safety of the Grenfell tower residents to earn a few points with national government. It is far more likely that whoever made the decision to use the flammable cladding had no idea the cladding presented a serious fire risk. But in my opinion it is possible that the Alumninium coated Polyethylene cladding was chosen in preference to pure Aluminium cladding, in part because the superior insulation properties of the Polyethylene and the more favourable carbon footprint of Polyethylene helped burnish the green credentials of the officers and politicians who made that decision.

Update (EW): Dr Jim Glockling, Technical Director of the Fire Protection Association, said the following in an interview about Grenfell;

“There has been an emerging body of evidence surrounding some of the materials being used and now we have an appalling demonstration of what can happen,” he said.

Alongside the cosmetic appeal of cladding, it is used as an insulation to make buildings more sustainable to meet green energy requirements.

It could be that this is the quest for sustainability trumping other concerns,” Dr Glockling warned.

Read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/14/grenfell-tower-inferno-disaster-waiting-happen-concerns-raised/

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markl
June 18, 2017 7:25 pm

The building was “cladded” to meet the requirements of “climate change” legislation. Two years ago this wouldn’t have happened. No? The rest is guessing.

TD
Reply to  markl
June 18, 2017 7:35 pm

Aluminum coated Polyethylene. a recipe for disaster. That,s why war ships are no longer made from Aluminum – Aka: The Falklands War!

ferdberple
Reply to  TD
June 18, 2017 10:37 pm

The problem with alloy (aluminium​) is when it is heated when mixed with iron. Poly is hydrocarbon so of course it will burn unless mixed with fire retardant

M Seward
Reply to  TD
June 18, 2017 11:22 pm

Aluminium itself burns once it gets started and gives of a shipload of heat. That is why extracting aluminium from alumina (aluminium oxide) requires shiploads of energy as an input.
Aluminium powder (maximum surface area to mass ratio) is used as a ‘booster’ in open cut mining explosives for that very reason, get the stuff hot enough it doesn’t just burn it explodes with very high ‘brisance’ (speed of explosion).
Using aluminium in such circumstances with or without polyethelene is complete and utter lunacy and given the outcome not so much criminal negligence as a ‘peace crime’, i.e. about the same as using human shields or carpet bombing in wartime, mass murder by grotesque negligence.
Another tragic example of the negligence of the elites.
sarc/
But hey, the building looked so groovy and was ‘environmentally enhanced’ and that was the main thing wasn’t it…. wasn’t it.?
/sarc

Editor
Reply to  TD
June 19, 2017 12:23 am

Aluminum coated Polyethylene. a recipe for disaster. That,s why war ships are no longer made from Aluminum – Aka: The Falklands War!

Not only naval ships; airships too…comment image

Greg
Reply to  TD
June 19, 2017 12:24 am

HMS Sheffield was NOT made from aluminium, it was a high magnesium content alloy. It was the magnesium which is flammable. Great choice for a warship !!

Neo
Reply to  TD
June 19, 2017 1:56 pm

So then, this was definitely not a publicity stunt for a new Led Zeppelin album

Reply to  markl
June 18, 2017 10:35 pm
Sasha
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
June 18, 2017 11:10 pm

Behind the Telegraph’s pay wall.

rapscallion
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
June 19, 2017 5:05 am

This puts another perspective on it. – http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=86513
. . and this one quotes the Chris Booker article at length – http://www.eureferendum.com/blogview.aspx?blogno=86512
The EU is not entirely guilty – but, by God, its one of many organisations that are guilty.

John Silver
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
June 19, 2017 7:15 am

“Green” refrigerator with isobutane exploded.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isobutane

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
June 19, 2017 9:13 am

Thanks for that link, Phillip. Christopher Booker: always excellent and required reading.

Greg
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
June 19, 2017 12:29 pm

Christopher Booker getting printed at the Telegraph again, Good thing too.

TD
Reply to  markl
June 19, 2017 3:04 am

In the Seventies sold to the local council the original cladding for Grenfell Tower. it consisted of Glasal panels in which were sealed white asbestos cement, so tightly compressed that no fibres could escape.
“It was totally safe and would certainly have stopped the spread of any external fire; unlike this new cladding, which contains combustible plastics which can spread a fire up a building so fast that in some countries it has already caused whole buildings to go up, and in others…

wws
Reply to  TD
June 19, 2017 7:28 am

Yes – Polyethylene = Plastic. They wrapped a building in plastic and then were amazed when a spark turned it into an 18 story high roman candle.
“I am not suggesting that anyone deliberately sacrificed the safety of the Grenfell tower residents to earn a few points with national government.”
I AM!!! And you should too!!! There is NO way that any semi-competent planner could wrap a building in plastic without knowing he had just created a flammable death trap!!
“It is far more likely that whoever made the decision to use the flammable cladding had no idea the cladding presented a serious fire risk.”
NO, it is FAR more likely that those who made the decision knew EXACTLY what they were doing, and were well paid for doing it! The hands of the people who created this monstrosity are soaked in the blood of the victims. Anyone who had ANYTHING to do with this decision, including government officials who approved it, should be charged and imprisoned for life. They are MURDERERS.

Neo
Reply to  TD
June 19, 2017 1:58 pm

Yes, about as safe as a ‘Baked Alaska’

Gabro
Reply to  TD
June 23, 2017 6:38 pm

Of course Greens are murderers. They want to kill at least six billion humans, and have made a good start with DDT bans and shutting down fossil fuel power. They’ve also massacred tens of millions, at least, of birds and bats, to the benefit of crop-consuming insects.

craig
June 18, 2017 7:26 pm

Possible but shouldn’t the installer of the cladding said something about regulations and using this cladding above 1 storey in height? If the installer did mention this, then whoever approved the decision to grant and proceed with project should be held accountable.

Reply to  craig
June 18, 2017 8:32 pm

The installed installs the material specified by the architect and delivered to site…..
Its like blaming a pharmacist for handing out Thalidomide

Reply to  craig
June 18, 2017 8:35 pm

Likely funding would not be available until the “Global Warming” argument was used, just like all those diesel vehicles which spew microscopic particles that are very harmful to people, yet produce slightly less co2, which makes plants grow better and dont bother people. air is very bad and harmful in London and Europe because of diesels

Jaakko Kateenkorva
Reply to  scottmc37
June 19, 2017 1:14 am

air is very bad and harmful in London and Europe because of diesels

Your claim doubtful in astonishingly many ways, especially in this context.

cirby
Reply to  scottmc37
June 19, 2017 4:22 am

Jaakko, you really need to keep up with current events. Several major cities are looking at banning diesels for just this reason (after years and years of encouraging diesel engines for CO2 emissions reductions). Paris, Madrid, Athens, and Mexico City are already planning on banning diesels by 2025. There have been calls for London to ban diesel-engined cars even sooner.

Reply to  scottmc37
June 19, 2017 5:54 am

Cirby. Some spiders build their webs high up and are presumed to see nothing bigger than themselves. Remaining skeptic through and through, elevation that high is doubtful in my case, but good luck.
Now, with the currently prevailing Sci-Po particles are nanomaterials, defined strictly by size alone. Therefore, the most preoccupying particle emitter is Sahara desert. To avert this latest doom, let’s try banning human proximity to all sandy locations first and then try banning diesel.

MarkW
Reply to  scottmc37
June 19, 2017 6:47 am

Many cities buy into the CO2 nonsense as well.
There is no science that shows that PM2.5 is dangerous.

Chris
Reply to  scottmc37
June 19, 2017 7:54 am

“There is no science that shows that PM2.5 is dangerous.”
False. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673695901736

Chad Irby
Reply to  scottmc37
June 19, 2017 11:56 am

Jaakko:
You’re trying to pretend that diesels aren’t dirty because PM2.5 aren’t too bad, but the problem is that they emit enough of all sorts of soot (yes, even with “modern” diesels) that the whole area gets dirty, and if the owners don’t bother to maintain them correctly, they’re dumping a lot more out of the exhaust than people used to pretend.
Soot is soot, even if the particles are too small to see.
Of course, now that people are actually starting to look at those “green” vehicles, plan on seeing more problems like the VW emissions cheat scandal (they’re popping up all of the time).

Greg
Reply to  scottmc37
June 19, 2017 1:10 pm

The PM25 fuss is just the next step in enviro fascists trying to take away our right to free displacement. Most city pollution is tired old trucks and busses not nice new VW cars.
Don’t be fooled, proud of their “success” in establishing the first international dictat in Paris they are boldly moving on to the next step.

Auto
Reply to  scottmc37
June 19, 2017 1:48 pm

Scott and all,
I have lived and worked in London.
The coal-powered smogs of the 1950s were bad – I am just old enough to remember about the last of them, although not the horrible 1952 event.
‘Up to 12,000 deaths’!
All-out wars have killed fewer.
Saying that, the streets have aromas. In 1979 [back working in London for the summer] the diesel fumes were – seemingly – much worse than in the 1960s and 1970s.
They were much the same into the end of the last century, then cleared – a bit – but have in the last few years seemed worse [although not 1979 bad!]. About 5% [guess] of cyclists use mouth/nose filters nowadays – more if cycle couriers only are counted.
Anecdote, personal experience and all that.
Absolutely.
And not one measurement in sixty years. For sure.
But presented for what – if anything – it is worth.
Auto

Reply to  scottmc37
June 19, 2017 3:41 pm

Diesel fumes are ‘definitely’ a cause of cancer. Not merely ‘probably’ as was previously thought. At least according to the June 2012 report from the WHO’S IARC.

markl
Reply to  Bill Sticker
June 19, 2017 3:53 pm

“….the WHO….” Isn’t this the same organization responsible for banning DDT which resulted in 10’s of millions deaths and countless more illnesses only admit a few years ago that DDT isn’t the daemon they thought it was? You mean THAT WHO?

Reply to  markl
June 20, 2017 5:35 pm

Yes, that WHO. For what it’s worth.

Hivemind
Reply to  craig
June 19, 2017 4:09 am

Reports are that the manufacturer recommends it isn’t to be used in structures higher than 10 metres.

June 18, 2017 7:36 pm

It will be interesting to see the results of actually testing of this cladding as to how flammable this material is.

markl
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
June 18, 2017 7:39 pm

What difference does that make to the fact that it wouldn’t have even been done except for the “climate change” legislation. Don’t lose sight of why it was done. Not the results.

Jer0me
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
June 18, 2017 8:34 pm

Tests were attempted by CSIRO recently. They were abandoned in less than a minute because of the intense heat produced.

Ben of Houston
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
June 18, 2017 10:21 pm

It’s polyethylene. My job has a polyolefin incinerator, and it’s effectively the same as burning fuel oil once you get it up to temperature. Since there’s effectively no non-combustible ash in the plastic, it’s easier to burn than natural materials like wood or coal. Once the fire gets lit, It will easily expand, popping off the aluminum cladding to let air in and light it on fire.That’s assuming the aluminum doesn’t burn as well, which is not a good assumption in this situation.If you do start burning aluminum, then it will actually burn faster and hotter than an equivalent board of dry wood. That’s not a fire rating of zero. That’s solidly in the negative.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
June 18, 2017 10:24 pm

That’s already been done. It burns like … like polyethylene. PE decomposes when it gets hot, producing ethylene gas, one of the three most flammable hydrocarbons, the others being hydrogen and acetylene. Flame temperature is about 1022F.

rogerthesurf
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
June 18, 2017 11:08 pm

My thoughts exactly.
https://www.celotex.co.uk/products/rs5000
https://www.celotex.co.uk/products/rs5000
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyisocyanurate#Fire_risk
http://www.firesafe.org.uk/british-standard-476-fire-tests/
See if you are any the wiser.
What ever the fire rating was it is readily apparent that the rating wasnt worth the cost of attaining.
Cheers
Roger
http://www.thedemiseofchristchurch.com

JCalvertN(UK)
Reply to  rogerthesurf
June 20, 2017 5:07 pm

I don’t think this is quite right.
The façade consisted of two components.
1/ Tight up against the old concrete wall was insulation. That was the Celotex – to which you refer above.
2/ Outside of the insulation – facing the weather- was the rain-screen cladding. That was “Reynobond” which consists of two, coil-coated, aluminium sheets that are fusion bonded to both sides of a polyethylene core.
It was the Reynobond cladding that caused the problem of the rapid fire-spread. It was the Reynobond that is supplied in two grades “PE” and “FR”. Use of the “PE” grade is banned for use on tall buildings in the USA (presumably by the NFPA?). But, for reasons that I hope will be uncovered by an inquiry, *someone* opted to use the “PE” grade.
Such cladding has been used for many years on industrial buildings (i.e. large tin sheds) in the UK. The main advantage is its greater stiffness and strength. This means it is able to span far greater widths that normal steel sheet cladding. So these building require far fewer ‘purlins’ and ‘girts’. The insulation effect is also nice – the thermal characteristics of a normal tin shed are pretty awful.
I don’t know how the cross-over happened – i.e. from the above application to using this type of product on tall buildings. It may be related to a newish school of architecture which likes to plaster the outside of buildings with a sort of multi-coloured confetti effect. (But why does it always have diced carrots in it?)

Claude Harvey
June 18, 2017 7:36 pm

Pretty weak argument. Improved insulation is in the interest of all parties. The use of highly flammable material for said insulation falls into lots of foolish or negligent laps lots of parties not disproportionately “green”.

Nick Stokes
Reply to  Claude Harvey
June 18, 2017 9:40 pm

Yes. People have been seeking to insulate buildings long before any climate policies.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 18, 2017 10:37 pm

Yes, Nick, but heretofore, if there was little or no return on investment, they didn’t insulate! Green madness makes people insulate when the ROI is ~zero or negative. If that’s the case here, the building should not have been insulated, and the disaster is fully attributable to Green posturing.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 18, 2017 10:53 pm

Well, there do seem to be alternate explanations to “Green is wonderful, and damn the pestiferous humans.”
One is that someone needed a way to funnel yet more taxpayer pounds to one of their big campaign donors (or supplier of under the table gratuities).
Another is that the elites surrounding this slum building didn’t want it to look like it was a slum building, since they can’t relegate the undesirables to the other side of the tracks any longer.
No matter which way you look at it, though, the “reason” is reprehensible and heads should literally roll. However, I tend to subscribe to the power of “and.” Green and corrupt and elitist – where any one is, the other two will never be far removed.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 19, 2017 5:40 am

“Nick Stokes June 18, 2017 at 9:40 pm
Yes. People have been seeking to insulate buildings long before any climate policies.”
Lived in the UK Nick? Primary reason was about saving money as energy costs are high in the UK. Hot water tank lagging, hot water pipe lagging, cavity wall insulation, underfloor insulation, ceiling insulation, double glazing etc etc. Well before “climate” policies, whatever madness they are.

Greg
Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 19, 2017 1:18 pm

jorge :

Yes, Nick, but heretofore, if there was little or no return on investment, they didn’t insulate!
What utter bollocks. People ( in Britain at least ) have been insulating with double glazing and internal insulation since the 1970s petrol crisis. Most parts of Britain are very cold in winter and there is a clear RIO on having basic thermal insulation and non leaky windows.

Reply to  Nick Stokes
June 19, 2017 3:25 pm

And reasonably intelligent people understand that even without any additional flammability in the insulation, the better insulated a building is, the easier it’ll be to heat any combustibles inside to their ignition temperature.
It boggles my mind that the owners were allowed to make a major renovation of the building, without installing sprinkler systems! The only answer I can think of is as long as you recite the proper incantations to the Goddess Gaia, and are a true believer of Apocalyptic Global Warming, anything goes.

benofhouston
Reply to  Claude Harvey
June 18, 2017 10:24 pm

I’ll agree. It was negligent on the owners part, (from reports, they were grossly negligent on basic fire safety as well), but the focus on the green laws this seems to be exploiting the tragedy for our own ends.
Let the story ride out. Use this as a warning against poor building materials, but let the investigation occur and the guilty be punished by law. Don’t exploit the deaths of these people.

ferdberple
Reply to  benofhouston
June 18, 2017 10:39 pm

Greenwash comes to mind.

Greg
Reply to  benofhouston
June 19, 2017 1:21 pm

“and the guilty be punished by law. ”
Don’t count on it. No one got prosecuted for the Paddington train crash because company directors are NOT personally liable for negligence under UK law , even if it causes multiple deaths.

jclarke341
Reply to  benofhouston
June 19, 2017 4:27 pm

benofhouston – I appreciate your call for restraint in jumping to conclusions that would seem to exploit the incident for ideological gains. Yet, we have been down this road many times before. There is no way that an official investigation will blame green laws for the tragedy.
There is already sufficient evidence that the recladding project was done, in part, to reduce CO2 emissions (improve environmental performance). Now, that was probably just another way to ‘sell’ the project and it certainly didn’t dictate that they use a highly flammable material for the task, so there is very little chance that the green laws will come into question. No one is going to get anywhere trying to argue that insulation is a bad thing. It will come down to the the choice of the insulating materials and who was responsible for that choice, not the need or desire to insulate.
The impact of the green laws is far to subtle to be a subject of the Grenfell investigation, yet the impact of the paradigm that produced those laws is vast and insidious, and it certainly plays a role in what happened. At the root of it all is a nearly subconscious belief that the use of the precautionary principle is a viable tool in making decisions about the environment. The acceptance of the idea that we humans should minimize our potential ‘harm’ to the environment, even if we cannot define it, is a powerful and dangerous sword to wield.
The problem is that there is no quantifiable way to measure or even define ‘harm’. Harm, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. It is also a completely fluid concept. What is considered harmful now can be instantly turned to ‘beneficial’ with a slight change in circumstances or knowledge, and vice-versa. It happens all the time.
In the world we live in, CO2 emissions are being elevated to the position of ‘very harmful’, even though there is no evidence of harm in the present, or an easily predictable harm in the future. This can only happen in a society when the concept of a precautionary principle is accepted by the population at large, either consciously or subconsciously. People can now persuade us with the argument that something might be bad in the future, so we should get rid of it now. Furthermore, they are not required to acknowledge the benefits of this thing in the present, or the negative consequences of abolishing it. All they need to argue is that it might be very harmful later. All they need to do is make us afraid.
Western civilization was built on a paradigm of optimism. People were asking: “What can be done to make things better and more efficient? How can we have more freedom and fun”? Now the paradigm has shifted. Now people ask: What can we do to prevent harm? How can we be safe?” Now we have a paradigm of pessimism and fear. Humans tend to make bad decisions in a state of fear.
Again, the connection to Grenfell is subtle. It appears that the main reason for the cladding was aesthetic, but that was probably not enough to get the project funded. So there is also an appeal to the fear of climate change. It is argued that the cladding will reduce the CO2 footprint of the building. That is a powerful argument in this paradigm of fear. The project gets funded and the insolation quality of the cladding that appealed to the fear of climate change, inadvertently killed dozens of people and destroyed the building. It was a bad decision made possible because we live in a state of fear.
The investigation will find people to blame, but will not indict the paradigm that remains a root cause of the gradual decline of Western Civilization, and a necessary domino leading to the Grenfell disaster.

Reply to  benofhouston
June 20, 2017 1:25 pm

The officers that recoomended this appallingly murderous cladding to the councillors who no doubt passed it w/o thought as helping climate change will be protected by some buck passing legislation so the private scetor contractor is to blame, . They will claim they are not expert, only bureaucratse, but they have recommended this choice to councillors who rely on officers to ensure the decisions are safe, but who in fact are totally unaccountable for their actions and will put people at avoidable risk to secure government climate change subsidies.
PS Sad when the whole thing is hoax, plants converted all the CO2 since they started on the 95% CO2 atmosphere a long time ago, and kept it below 1% ever since. Why would they stop now? It’s all a fraud, next major event is the arrival of glaciers in a few thousand years as the current warm and short interglacial ends. Check the last Milion years temperature records.

BoyfromTottenham
June 18, 2017 7:47 pm

Hi from Oz. I read an article in the UK media (probably the Telegraph) recently that said that the cladding was to make ‘the building more sustainable’. Yup, that really worked, didn’t it? On a related matter, I have been watching the UK TV show “Grand Designs” for several years, and noted their coverage of new houses with progressively higher ‘environmental ratings’ (is Class 6 the highest now?), apparently based on heavily insulating and fully air-sealing the building, then recirculating and filtering the (obviously) stale air inside the building to keep it habitable. (As far as I know, the Australian Building regulations here still insist on domestic dwellings having adequate ventilation, like silly old openable windows and stuff.) However, I rarely see ‘bad’ news in the UK media about what it is like to live in one of these airtight Class 6 buildings – e.g. people suffocating if the power fails (/sarc). It all sounds mad to me, glad I don’t live there any more.

noaaprogrammer
Reply to  BoyfromTottenham
June 18, 2017 8:05 pm

Every time I close the door in a small motel room for the night, I always open a window a few inches as I remember the poor little bugs I caught as child without poking holes in the lid of the jar in which they were tightly sealed!

Jer0me
Reply to  BoyfromTottenham
June 18, 2017 8:36 pm

I once turned off the AC in a hotel room because it was too loud. I woke gaping for breath at about 2am. I was literally suffocating.
At home my windows are all open 24/7 except at night in the winter.

Auto
Reply to  Jer0me
June 19, 2017 2:15 pm

Jer0me
Here in South London I always leave one window open – in my bedroom.
Even in Arctic blasts; although then it will be a couple of inches open.
I agree that ventilation and fresh air are essential.
A heat exchanger – so warm stale outgoing air warms cold bracing incoming air – would help; but “silly old openable windows ” do the job [Boyfrom – thanks for the phrase – lovely!].
Auto

B. Caswell
Reply to  Jer0me
June 20, 2017 1:14 pm

A couple thoughts. One, air conditioners don’t bring in fresh air at all. period. Two, any recent hotels (last 30 years) are designed for an amount of fresh air being brought in even if nobody ever opens a window or turns on a bathroom fan. The most common way is a bathroom/kitchen vent that runs (often at a lower level) even when the switch is off and a gap under the hallway door where they introduce fresh air. Food for thought.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  BoyfromTottenham
June 18, 2017 10:04 pm

“BoyfromTottenham June 18, 2017 at 7:47 pm
(As far as I know, the Australian Building regulations here still insist on domestic dwellings having adequate ventilation, like silly old openable windows and stuff.)”
Used to be. You look at the number of units being built in Sydney and you will see none of them will have an air brick to allow the building to breathe consequently the buildings suffer terrible damp and mold. Only option is to install air-con, or open a door or window, but that doesn’t work too well if living near a busy road.

BoyfromTottenham
Reply to  Patrick MJD
June 18, 2017 10:24 pm

Thanks for the update, Patrick.

climanrecon
Reply to  BoyfromTottenham
June 19, 2017 2:11 am

Good point about ventilation. It was a very hot still night inside a well insulated building, most windows would have been fully open, probably contributing to the spread of the fire and the smoke.

Mike McMillan
June 18, 2017 7:56 pm

Polyethylene has a thermal conductivity a full order of magnitude more than what we regard as insulation. Not a whole lot better than window glass.

Martin A
Reply to  Mike McMillan
June 18, 2017 9:05 pm

MM – I think it was polyethene *foam* – which is a good insulator.

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Martin A
June 18, 2017 10:21 pm

PE foam fire test

Mike McMillan
Reply to  Martin A
June 18, 2017 10:22 pm

Let’s try that again-

LdB
Reply to  Martin A
June 20, 2017 12:03 am

That isn’t what the material is. It was a cheap Chinese ripoff of the Alucobond product

Tom Halla
June 18, 2017 8:06 pm

The horrid thing is if the local government, which I understand also owns the building, specified a flammable cladding, the survivors of the forty or so people killed by this negligence are probably out of any chance of redress. In the US, the government is responsible for writing and enforcing building codes, so if that applies in the UK, the local government will probably get away with their malign negligence.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Tom Halla
June 18, 2017 10:05 pm

Local councils in the UK are not noted for the sense.

catweazle666
Reply to  Patrick MJD
June 19, 2017 5:22 pm

“Local councils in the UK are not noted for the sense.”
Unfortunately they also have a propensity for transactions involving brown envelopes.
Contractors that worked on the £8.6 million Grenfell Tower refurbishment could have spent just £5,000 more on fireproof cladding, it has been revealed.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4609334/Fireproof-cladding-Grenfell-cost-5k-more.html#ixzz4kUu0DlRC

Towering Inferno
Reply to  catweazle666
June 19, 2017 6:59 pm

Fire what? Fire’proof’ ? Really. Lol. Moron.
Try ‘RESISTANT’ …”the fire-resistant version.”
Asbestos is fireproof, but it has long since been banned.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Patrick MJD
June 20, 2017 6:30 am

“Towering Inferno June 19, 2017 at 6:59 pm
Asbestos is fireproof,..”
Nope! Have had many asbestos brake pads on fire in competition well before they were banned.

Reply to  Tom Halla
June 18, 2017 10:41 pm

In the UK it is largely down to the EU bureaucrats and the EU regulations.

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
June 19, 2017 1:23 am

Of course UK public civil servants are largely innocent. A bit like BBC and the monarchs to match.

Old Englander
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
June 19, 2017 2:49 am

According to Booker’s piece in the Sunday Telegraph, building regulations are exclusively an EU “competence”

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
June 19, 2017 6:00 am

Yeah, it was an act of EU and locals were victims. Booker said so.

Reply to  Phillip Bratby
June 19, 2017 3:50 pm

@Phillip Bratby “In the UK it is largely down to the EU bureaucrats and the EU regulations.”
So essentially the whole of Europe has the building safety standards of a third world nation;

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
June 19, 2017 4:30 pm

Didn’t we fight a war once to prevent the UK from being ruled by unelected bureaucrats in a city starting with ‘B?’

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
June 20, 2017 6:24 am

“Paul Jackson June 19, 2017 at 3:50 pm
@Phillip Bratby “In the UK it is largely down to the EU bureaucrats and the EU regulations.”
So essentially the whole of Europe has the building safety standards of a third world nation;”
I abhor the use of the use of the term “third world”. It does not relate to poor nations in any way. The term relates to political views.

Steve Keppel-Jones
Reply to  Phillip Bratby
June 21, 2017 12:54 pm

Sweden, Switzerland, Ireland, Austria, and Finland are all “third world nations” too, but most of them probably have pretty good building codes.

markl
Reply to  Steve Keppel-Jones
June 21, 2017 1:11 pm

What? Those are well developed nations. What do you think the term “third world country” means today? (not the original use)

Reply to  Tom Halla
June 18, 2017 10:58 pm

There is a likelihood that many more people died then what is being stated. I doubt that the true number will ever be known being that the fire was so intense.

harrow sceptic
Reply to  goldminor
June 19, 2017 12:21 am

Rumour is that over 200 people have died, but that the authorities are keeping the estimates low at the moment so as not to provoke further street anger. Hopefully it is just that – a rumour.

Reply to  harrow sceptic
June 19, 2017 1:43 am

Terrible loss.

Reply to  goldminor
June 19, 2017 1:10 am

The count now is 100+ – 19 June 2017 0810z

Reply to  M Simon
June 19, 2017 1:45 am

I just read a report on ITV stating the numbers were to rise. They didn’t give a number though in that story. There is going to be quite a backlash from this.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  Tom Halla
June 19, 2017 11:06 am

In the US, no government entity takes it upon themselves to write the building code. They adopt, with a few amendments, codes created by other organizations, most notably the International Code Council. This applies as well to the electrical code and various fire codes and standards.

Tom Halla
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
June 19, 2017 12:09 pm

I sort of agree. Most of a building code is boilerplate from various organizations, but when I was in construction in California, various cities altered parts of the code, or chose which code they were going to adopt, so some jurisdictions were rather more expensive to operate in.

EM
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
June 21, 2017 11:56 am

You are right – also we can assume that no one on council was an expert on building systems or would be expected to be. Council would be advised by experts on adopting a standard code and any local amendments. This tragedy could come down to a junior architect specifying the wrong material while the senior architects concentrated on colour schemes and left fire ratings to others. Lets wait for a fair and comprehensive investigation.

Yep
Reply to  EM
June 21, 2017 2:50 pm

There was no review of Fire ratings in the 2012 design !
It was all about CO2 emissions reductions.
You said “and left fire ratings to others.”

Yep
Reply to  EM
June 21, 2017 2:53 pm

Wait for what? A “Lets wait for a fair and comprehensive investigation.”
We will grow old and die before that happens.
Remember the WACO fertilizer explosion?
It was clearly an Arson, but it took he government 3 years to declare it so.
The trail of the perp was long since cold.

Germinio
June 18, 2017 8:08 pm

This post is only telling half the story. The building was reclad to improve the
insulation but the owners deliberately chose the cheapest cladding available. Using a fire resistant variety would have cost an extra 5000 pounds but the owners decided not to do it. Similarly they decided that it was too expensive to install sprinklers. The cladding used is banned in Germany for example which has both stricter environmental regulations and stricter fire regulations.

markl
Reply to  Germinio
June 18, 2017 8:19 pm

Another attempt to ameliorate the cause….. cladding dictated by ‘climate change’ legislation. Everyone stop trying to pin the blame on secondary causes.

Chris
Reply to  markl
June 19, 2017 8:02 am

“Another attempt to ameliorate the cause….. cladding dictated by ‘climate change’ legislation. Everyone stop trying to pin the blame on secondary causes.”
That makes no sense. In a warming world, the need for insulation to reduce heating costs would be lessened, not increased.

Greg
Reply to  markl
June 19, 2017 1:32 pm

An increase on 2 deg in outside temp would only make a small reduction in heating requirements. Yet this is allegedly the point at which all hell breaks loose and everybody dies.
The alleged aim is prevent that rise , not benefit from cheaper heating when it does rise.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Germinio
June 18, 2017 8:39 pm

And your comment, Germ, is a deliberate attempt to divert attention from the real reason for the cladding:

reduce CO2 emissions.

Insulation function (albeit real) is a red herring, here.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  Germinio
June 18, 2017 10:43 pm

That £5000 figure is highly suspect. £60,000 to 100,000 may be closer to the actual differential material cost, ignoring any extra installation expense for the heavier FR panels.

Geronimo
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
June 19, 2017 1:11 am

It might be suspect but it widely reported in the UK media from outlets as diverse as the daily mail
to the guardian. See
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4609334/Fireproof-cladding-Grenfell-cost-5k-more.html
for example. Do you have any evidence to back up your figure? And even 100 000 pounds is still
cheap compared to the total cost of the refit.

Hivemind
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
June 19, 2017 4:19 am

And absolutely nothing compared to the loss of 100 lives.

cirby
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
June 19, 2017 4:41 am

The only suspect figure is the original cost for installing the panels.
The “expensive” ones cost about £25 each (1 meter square). No, I didn’t leave out any zeroes. No, the “expensive” ones don’t weigh much more.
Each apartment needs about ten panels. £250 per apartment out of £21,666 (or £25,000, according to some)
Installation costs are probably higher than the actual panel costs. No, installation costs aren’t much different between panel types.
There’s no rational explanation as to why it cost £2000 per panel to install them. It’s a handful of bolts into the concrete, a frame, and then some screws to attach the panels to the frames, at most. With a little practice, it’s a few minutes per panel for a team of two.
Someone’s going to jail for the graft alone, on this one.

Greg
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
June 19, 2017 1:39 pm

Guardian reported a cost saving of 2 GBP per square metre using the non FR foam. Even flame “resistant” would probable still be a bad idea. Check how long it would “resist” for before burning.
The reality is, this cladding would never have been fitted were it not for the stringent ( sorry “ambitious” ) targets EU countries have decided to inflict on each other.
Since Trump saved USA from Paris accord, EU has decided to double down on the stupidity and go for some extra “ambition”.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
June 19, 2017 4:11 pm

“…it (£5000) widely reported in the UK media from outlets as diverse as the daily mail to the guardian.” Germominimo
Oh, then it must true. The media, especially in the UK, are 100% reliable and truthful. And there’s an Easter Bunny and there are fairies in the bottom of your garden.
“Do you have any evidence to back up your figure?” –Germominimo
http://c.ymcdn.com/sites/www.aspenational.org/resource/resmgr/Techical_Papers/2015_Feb_TP.pdf?hhSearchTerms=%22installation%22 “Fire rated cores are more costly and add approximately $2.00 SF to the material price.”
The building is 220 feet tall by about 66 feet in width. Total area: 58,000 sqft. Deduct 30% for windows (another problem in themselves), so roughly 40,000 sqft, times $2/SF = ~$80,000.
“And even 100 000 pounds is still cheap compared to the total cost of the refit.” –Germominimo
Yes, but I did not address that issue, merely the £5000 figure, which struck me as highly unlikely. It’s still highly unlikely, even if 100 UK newspapers print it.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
June 19, 2017 5:12 pm

There’s no rational explanation as to why it cost £2000 per panel to install them. It’s a handful of bolts into the concrete, a frame, and then some screws to attach the panels to the frames, at most. With a little practice, it’s a few minutes per panel for a team of two. –cirby
Truly, nothing is impossible to the man who doesn’t have to do it himself.

Chad Irby
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
June 19, 2017 7:04 pm

“Truly, nothing is impossible to the man who doesn’t have to do it himself.”
…except I’ve done similar work. I’ve had to wrestle around heavy equipment far enough off the ground that an extra hundred feet wouldn’t decrease my survival chances significantly. After the first ten meters or so, survival chances are slim to none.
Drilling holes and bolting light panels together while standing on a metal platform sounds pretty possible to me, especially since people do it all of the time. Someone did that to build the building in the first place, you know.
To rephrase for your use, “Nothing is possible to someone who never did anything.”

Chad Irby
Reply to  Germinio
June 19, 2017 3:16 am

People keep saying “owners,” but they really mean “the local government, which owns the building.”
It’s a clever attempt to try and push it off on those horrible old capitalists, but we know better.

Janice Moore
June 18, 2017 8:08 pm

The answer is: yes.
{Copying here my comment from another thread}
Cladding, as Greg above points out above at 11:45am, is done to reduce human CO2 emissions (of buildings). ….
See, e.g.,

On the Optimal Selection of Wall Cladding System to Reduce Direct and Indirect CO2 Emissions
Abstract
Buildings have direct and indirect impacts on the CO2 emissions. This paper presents a study on the impact of wall systems and cladding materials on the CO2 emissions and aims to analyse the performance of those systems in order to provide designers with reliable technical data. The studied systems include stucco, masonry veneer, aluminium siding, vinyl siding and the exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS).
To evaluate the economic performance, environmental performance and embodied energy, green building modelling systemwas used, while to estimate the impact of operational energy, a simulation model was first used and then simple bottom-up model constructed. A sensitivity analysis was conducted in order to determine the relative influence of each system on a representative educational building.
It was found that some cladding materials reduce the direct CO2 emissions, but provide a moderate reduction in terms of operational energy, and vice versa. Others positively impact the embodied energy and environmental performance and can optimise the operational energy performance. Therefore, a careful evaluation should be carried out in selecting wall cladding systems and finishing materials in order to reduce the CO2 emissions effectively.

(Source: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544209005155 )
Thus:
to the extent that the cladding caused the fire to be as deadly as it was,
those people died
because of a completely IMAGINARY problem.
ALL of the scientists who have ever promoted AGW have blood on their hands.
(https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/06/16/claim-global-diet-and-farming-methods-must-change-for-environments-sake/#comment-2529418)
Or, as Greg pointed out just below that comment:

Not blood Janice. More like carbonised bodies. How ironic is that?

Germinio
Reply to  Janice Moore
June 18, 2017 8:17 pm

Insulation has nothing to do with reducing CO2 emissions. It is about keeping people warm in winter and saves lives and money when done properly. The issue is not that a cladded was installed but that the developed decided not to spend an extra 5000 pounds to install fire resistant cladding that could have slowed the fire and saved peoples lives.

markl
Reply to  Germinio
June 18, 2017 8:25 pm

BS. Another excuse for the obvious. None of this would have occurred without the legislation demanding the changes. Stop pointing fingers in the wrong direction.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Germinio
June 18, 2017 8:35 pm

That’s right, Mister Miss the Point Germinio. Try reading my comment again, a bit more slowly this time. The cladding was done (as per Eric Worrall’s article which we are discussing) for environmental performance, i.e., reduce building CO2 emissions.
You have made an unsupported assumption: that cladding was done for insulation ONLY. You are mistaken.

James Bull
Reply to  Germinio
June 18, 2017 10:20 pm

Also they had to clad the building as the cost of heating it had gone up so much due to the requirements of the climate change act which mandate that wind/solar produced electricity is to be used even though it is 2-3 times the price of the coal produced.
James Bull

BoyfromTottenham
Reply to  Germinio
June 18, 2017 10:29 pm

Germinio said “cladding that could have slowed the fire”. Nonsense – how could cladding on the outside of a masonry building possibly slow the progress of a fire on the inside?

Geronimo
Reply to  Germinio
June 19, 2017 1:16 am

BoyfromTottenham ->
The fire spread up the outside of the building via the cladding. The cladding was apparently the reason
why the fire spread so quickly and was so deadly.

BruceC
Reply to  Germinio
June 19, 2017 3:47 am

The building was also NOT FITTED with a sprinkler system.

Solomon Green
Reply to  Germinio
June 19, 2017 4:32 am

Geronimo, I do not know in what land you are living, but in the UK “insulation” was mandated by John Prescott, Deputy Prime Minister to Tony Blair, in legislation brought in by the Labour Government specifically to reduce energy consumption (and hence CO2 emissions).
https://www.gov.uk/buy-sell-your-home/energy-performance-certificates

Greg
Reply to  Germinio
June 19, 2017 1:46 pm

Germ: “cladding that could have slowed the fire”.
Nonsense. FR cladding would increased the fire risk LESS than non FR PE foam. but it would still have INCREASED the fire risk.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  Germinio
June 19, 2017 4:17 pm

Insulation has nothing to do with reducing CO2 emissions.” –Germi
In the UK it does.

Reply to  Janice Moore
June 18, 2017 8:57 pm

Really good research on your pat Janice!!!

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
June 18, 2017 8:58 pm

your part…Janice…

Janice Moore
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
June 18, 2017 9:31 pm

Thanks, J. Philip!

Retired Kit P
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
June 18, 2017 9:47 pm

Idiots applauding idiots!

Janice Moore
Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
June 19, 2017 6:30 am

R. Kit P.: Here are the “idiots” https://www.elsevier.com/ you are sneering at (the scientists behind the report on cladding I cited above). Read and you will find that, while you may disagree with them, they are hardly “idiots.”

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  Janice Moore
June 18, 2017 9:20 pm

Janice Moore June 18, 2017 at 8:08 pm
Hi janice, I don’t know.
The link below tells “who” owned the place and who manged it. I’m not sure what a “Council” is in the U.K.
But it seems that this may have been the work of a penny pinching bean counter. The building was public housing, not private ownership. So any money spent was the local taxpayers. Also the siding was to make the building look better, it was probably effecting property values.
We see it here low income housing that is an eye sore and has been trashed by few low life’s. No one wants to put money into them.
michael
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3804090/who-owns-grenfell-tower-kctmo-properties/

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Mike the Morlock
June 18, 2017 11:01 pm

“Mike the Morlock June 18, 2017 at 9:20 pm
I’m not sure what a “Council” is in the U.K.”
It i sometimes called local government, it’s just another layer of govn’t control and taxation. People pay taxes in the form of rates to councils for services like street lights and garbage collection. Some councilors here in Australia earn more than the Prime Minister.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Mike the Morlock
June 19, 2017 6:00 am

I should say PAID more, they EARN nothing!

Chris
Reply to  Janice Moore
June 19, 2017 8:23 am

“ALL of the scientists who have ever promoted AGW have blood on their hands.”
False. First, AGW is real, so your statement that it isn’t is not backed by any credible evidence. Feel free to publish research if you disagree. Blog posts don’t count. Secondly, there are plenty of non flammable insulation products on the market. The scientists who publish on AGW did not make the decisions to use dangerous products – Germany, for example, does not allow them. By your logic, building designers that argued for mandatory fire extinguishers on every floor would have blood on their hands if a faulty extinguisher blew up and killed someone.

catweazle666
Reply to  Chris
June 19, 2017 5:27 pm

Chris, has anyone ever told you that you are an idiot, and utterly ignorant with it?

Towering Inferno
Reply to  catweazle666
June 19, 2017 6:50 pm

He’s just a Paid Paris Shill

Reply to  Chris
June 19, 2017 5:48 pm

catweazle666, has anyone ever told you that when you resort to name calling, you’ve lost the argument?
..
..
https://twitter.com/wattsupwiththat/status/406298804950798336

jclarke341
Reply to  Chris
June 19, 2017 6:28 pm

Chris…I agree with you. That sentence is over the top. It’s just as nutty as James Hansen’s statement that: “The trains carrying coal to power plants are death trains.” I am sure you pointed out the falseness of Hansen’s statement as well.
You go off the rails, however, when you demand that someone prove that AGW is not real. Such a proof is as impossible as proving that AGW is real! It is possible that rising CO2 produces negative feedbacks that completely cancel out any warming. I am not saying that is likely, but it still remains a possibility and, therefore, AGW cannot be ‘proven’.
Of course, even if you could prove that AGW was real, and I believe it is, it would still be completely irrelevant. AGW could be very real and very beneficial. In that case, carbon mitigation policies for the decreasing CO2 emissions become harmful and dangerous (case in point). Right now, what little evidence we have points to AGW being small and largely beneficial. Computer models remain the only source of information pointing to a crisis. This is hardly surprising as they are programmed to indicate a crisis with their assumed large climate sensitivity, for which there is no evidence, today, or in the historical climate record.
There are many layers of choice and responsibility between climate crisis promoters and Grenfell Tower. Calling them murderers is outlandish and a distraction. But it is certainly wisdom to look more closely at the cost we are paying in the name of carbon mitigation, especially since the benefits are nonexistent at present, and questionable at best for the foreseeable future.

Chris
Reply to  Chris
June 20, 2017 6:41 pm

catweazle666. has anyone told you that you add virtually nothing to any discussion in which you take part? You are the conversational equivalent of a no op in software programming.

markl
Reply to  Chris
June 20, 2017 7:04 pm

Please, no trolling.

pwl
June 18, 2017 8:11 pm

“Chancellor Philip Hammond has said that the controversial non fire-resistant cladding fitted to Grenfell Tower is in fact banned in the UK.

Asked about this by the BBC’s Andrew Marr, the Chancellor said: “My understanding is the cladding in question, this flammable cladding which is banned in Europe and the US, is also banned here.”
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/grenfell-tower-flammable-cladding-banned-in-uk-philip-hammond-germany-us-a7795696.html

Janice Moore
Reply to  pwl
June 18, 2017 8:41 pm

True. However, the main point is: the cladding should not be done AT ALL.

Geronimo
Reply to  Janice Moore
June 18, 2017 9:20 pm

Are you saying that people should live in cold houses? Or waste money on heating when they can
insulate their house? Insulation when done properly saves lives and money. And here the issue here is
that the developers deliberately went for the cheaper option in regards the cladding. Insulation that is
fire resistant is available and would only have cost 5000 pounds more and would have saved lives.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Janice Moore
June 18, 2017 9:33 pm

The set Insulation need not include the element Cladding.

RACookPE1978
Editor
Reply to  Janice Moore
June 18, 2017 10:14 pm

More accurately, the added cladding should not have been done in that manner. But it was required to be added by the government’s codes.
See additional critical design analysis and cross-sections of the insulation, window barriers, building plans, residue photos and burn examples, and flame paths here:
http://www.eng-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid=426349

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  Janice Moore
June 18, 2017 10:50 pm

That’s the crux of the situation. The cladding should only have been done IF it produced a real return on investment. No ROI, no cladding, no disaster.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Janice Moore
June 19, 2017 6:33 am

Jorge and R. A., I would go one step further. Insulating does not require that cladding be done at all. There are other, safer, forms of insulation.
Cladding is, thus:
1. Stupid (negative ROI)
2. Evil (akin to murder)

Chris
Reply to  Janice Moore
June 19, 2017 8:24 am

“Jorge and R. A., I would go one step further. Insulating does not require that cladding be done at all. There are other, safer, forms of insulation.”
So tell us specifically how cost effective insulation should be installed in existing structures.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  Janice Moore
June 19, 2017 10:52 am

This cladding was not added because the buildings were “cold” in the winter. That’s what heating systems are for, and there is absolutely no data which suggests it didn’t work sufficiently in this building. The cladding was added in an attempt to control increasing energy costs (which are partially caused by government CAGW policies), and to meet local and national mandated energy use reductions. So the cladding was NOT to benefit the residents of the building, but to satisfy the demands of the CAGW crowd. So this disaster can be laid at their feet and their incompetent minions in government.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  Janice Moore
June 19, 2017 5:18 pm

“So tell us specifically how cost effective insulation should be installed in existing structures.” –chris
Aye, there’s the rub. This was a retrofit.

yarpos
Reply to  pwl
June 19, 2017 1:30 am

A great example about laws and banning things. People dust their hands and walk away saying our work here is done. Without resulting enforcement and consequences for violations rules mean nothing.

Mike the Morlock
June 18, 2017 8:17 pm

http://www.fifoil.com/sites/default/files/documents/MSDS_3.pdf
the above is the MSDS for the stuff, or similar
Idiots morons
I.. at the last place I worked, (a international company manufacturing medical devices, ) I chaired the safety committee,
Read the MSDS once on fire that stuff is horrible toxic.
Once the Alum starts to burn it become much harder to put out.

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  Mike the Morlock
June 18, 2017 8:29 pm

I think this is the correct MSDS
http://www.ceicomposites.com/cm/dpl/downloads/content/1492/Reynobond_MSDS.pdf
it gives info on fire fighting.
bad stuff
michael

remus
Reply to  Mike the Morlock
June 20, 2017 11:18 am

The MSDS indicates the material is “non-combustible as shipped”. The fire fighting instructions you reference are for chips, turnings, and dust as the material is formed.
Finally, if you know anything about aluminum, the reason it instructs you to not use water “in fighting fires with molten metal” is that the metal can trap the moisture causing a steam explosion. not because the material is reactive with water.
To be honest, the MSDS does not address issues with the material if it catches fire as installed. It only addresses issues with the material during processing (ie forming).

June 18, 2017 8:27 pm

This cladding illegal in US due to fire concerns, it was all about stopping Global Warming, and the Labor party deeply involved(like the Dems in US) including mayor of London who was on the committee making these decisions shooting down concerns about fire requirements in 2009….

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  scottmc37
June 18, 2017 11:05 pm

Some information shows it is still useable for US low-rise applications, less than 40 or 50 feet.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  scottmc37
June 19, 2017 11:43 am

That depends on what you mean by “this cladding” see below for a link to a US product that appears to be listed by UL for “intermediate” rise buildings.
http://www.kingspanpanels.us/benchmark/products/engineered-facade-systems/metallics/acm

TinyCO2
June 18, 2017 8:29 pm

I doubt that climate change was high on the priority for cladding this building and others. Though I’m sure that adding ‘climate change’ to the justification for spending the money was similar to the reasoning behind many research papers where there is little justification. The words open wallets.
The main reasons were aesthetics, rain penetration and a genuine need for insulation. There was no need for the cheap version as there was money for the more fire retardent stuff. We await the conclusions on who made the fatal decision.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  TinyCO2
June 18, 2017 10:57 pm

Feel free to doubt, but the true priority of reasons for cladding will become known eventually, unless some committee of Col. Blimps manages to cover it with a smoke screen.

Tim
Reply to  jorgekafkazar
June 19, 2017 7:48 am

Whatever the motivation, urgent political initiative is needed to preserve evidence in the interests of the victims. This is clearly a test of whether the people or the offenders are protected by the law. Suggest we follow the tried and tested ’follow the money’ principle.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0QoX-ApWOus

richard verney
Reply to  TinyCO2
June 19, 2017 1:21 am

The building design (ie.,m the original design) was that there should be no cladding. With the design of the building cladding is completely unnecessary.
One can see from the design of the cladding that its primary function was insulation, not cosmetics. See:
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/06/15/15/416FC28400000578-4605674-Cladding_is_a_material_attached_to_a_building_s_frame_to_create_-a-16_1497536809126.jpg
Just looking at the design one can readily see that it is unsafe, especially the air cavity which is just an accident waiting to happen; acting like a chimney drawing up the heat and flame front.
Upon renovation of the building, cladding was required as a matter of EU regulations to meet environmental/sustainability requirements. These EU regulations/directives are directly applicable since the UK is a member of the EU. These regulations/directives may well have been added to by the requirements of the Climate Change Act and statutory instruments issued under that Act.
The fact is that but for these environmental rules and regulations, this disaster would not have happened and the deaths of more than 100 people would have been avoided. That said, even with those rules and regulations, the cladding could have been made fire safe.
Of course, at one time, asbestos sheet cladding was popular and had very good fire retardant properties, but this was outlawed due to over hyped safety fears. In service, this type of cladding did not pose significant risk, merely risks when working the material/removing the material which could easily be handled with the correct safety precautions.

TinyCO2
Reply to  richard verney
June 19, 2017 2:25 am

People started insulating long before climate issues reared their ugly heads. You even give a good example with asbestos. Saving energy is not a bad thing. It just has to be done safety. There will be a long list of things that contributed to this disaster but CAGW will only be a relatively minor part of it. Choosing the wrong insulation and failing to install a sprinkler system will probably be the two major items. Possibly even trying to prolong the use of an unsuitable building may be another. While a sprinkler system on the inside would not have stopped the fire spreading on the outside, it may have doused the initial fire and would have given the pople inside longer to get out/be rescued.
The UK and probably the whole western world have regulations that conflict with each other. We need to make sure that the priorities are dealt with first – safety today is always more important than safety tomorrow.

Janice Moore
Reply to  richard verney
June 19, 2017 6:38 am

Tiny. Re: AGW having little to do with this. I realize my comments must be considered by you to be a waste of time to read, but, this time, you might have learned something (see https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/06/18/did-uk-government-climate-mania-contribute-to-the-grenfell-tower-disaster/comment-page-1/#comment-2530374 ).
They used the cladding form of insulation MAINLY because it prevents building CO2 emissions.
IOW to bow to the AGW god.
IOW they sacrificed humans for nothing.

TinyCO2
Reply to  richard verney
June 19, 2017 9:18 am

I’m sorry Janice but you’re speaking from ignorance of the situation. All the main news services are indicating that the wrong product was used. One not suitable for high rise. A better product was less that £7000 more for the whole building. Can you really blame an obsession with AGW for failing to spend £7000 more on a £18,300,000 job? Even when the other product was an insulator too? Tower blocks new and old are being clad for reasons often having nothing to do with energy saving. Visual impact is a large part of it.
In area where Grenfell is situated you’ll pay a minimum of £300,000 for a 1 bed high rise flat. They are within sight of properties worth many millions. It’s one of the most expensive places in the world. Saving energy was only a part of the consideration. Visual appeal was another. So you can blame vanity as much as the green blob.
All indications are that someone chose the wrong product. Whether it was the contractor or the council remains to be seen. Accident, ignorance, greed? Possibly. Desire to cut CO2? Highly unlikely.

Greg
Reply to  richard verney
June 19, 2017 2:14 pm

” Can you really blame an obsession with AGW for failing to spend £7000 more on a £18,300,000 job? ”
No, but you can blame obsession with AGW for the fact the any thermally insulating cladding was being added. This is EU mandate and came into effect in France on Jan 1st 2017 as well.
This is direct result of the “ambitious carbon reductions” enshrined in the Paris agreement.
Make all the devious, contorted excuses you like to divert from that but ridiculous, alarmist claims have so distorted the everything now that very bad and inappropriate choices are being made.

If you distort weight of the various factors that go into any decision making process, you will make the wrong choices.

That is, sadly, what happened here.

Matt
June 18, 2017 8:33 pm

As always when an author puts a question mark behind a head line, he does not believe the BS himself. So without reading the article, we already know that governmental climate mania did not cause or contribute to the fire. – But we can do even better than that: we can read (actual) news without a quotation mark in the head line to learn that the reason is not climate mania, but a 2 POUND SAVING per square meter over a fire retardant alternative product by the same manufacturer even; so the reason was cost savings.

tony mcleod
Reply to  Matt
June 18, 2017 9:23 pm

Unless you are a barking mad idealogue who can’t help respond to the dog whistle, then:
“The answer is: yes.” and “scientists have blood on their hands”. Wow.
Is that why you don’t have insulation?

RACookPE1978
Editor
Reply to  Matt
June 18, 2017 10:10 pm

The “requirement” for the insulation in the first place – the “reason” the insulation was being added and being funded by the owners was “climate change” because “climate change” funding was available, and “extra insulation” was a requirement to receive the funding, and to receive the revision building permit in the first place!
Now, after the “requirement” – the demand for the insulation was set by the government (under whom the “climate change” reason was determined – was set, the building owners decided to use the cheaper, non-fireproof material BECAUSE the cheaper material was 2 pounds less per unit area. Like the Space Shuttle loss caused by NASA’s demand to reduce gas emissions – which forced NASA to change insulation “glue” holding the tiles one to a lower emitting epoxy mix that regularly failed during launches, the DECISION to cause the failure came from above, and the execution of failure was committed by people following that DECISION to fail.

Greg
Reply to  RACookPE1978
June 19, 2017 2:18 pm

” and “extra insulation” was a requirement to receive the funding”
What funding is that ? Did you just make that up?
No , EU directives require added external insulation to be added any time there is renovation of a façade. This does not gain you any “funding” , you just have to do it.

June 18, 2017 8:50 pm

Hello
The past few days I cannot post your blog to my facebook readers. I post it to the public so it gets wider spread. Prior to the past week I could hit post and the article title, picture related to article etc. would post and the headline gets peoples attention. Many people have asked me about who you are etc. Now all that shows up on facebook is your website/blog URL. People are lazy they don’t like to hunt so I like to post the ones they will react to the most – which now that I think of it is most of your blogs. Please advise if something has changed for posting on facebook.

Reply to  Edith Wenzel
June 18, 2017 9:28 pm

Whenever I post an article from WUWT I get no responses, likes, or even comments…I have a feeling that Facebook doesn’t post public or private “friends” when it is anti global warming…

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
June 18, 2017 9:30 pm

Has anyone else experienced the same??

Janice Moore
Reply to  Edith Wenzel
June 18, 2017 9:35 pm

Moderator: This is a serious concern of Edith Wenzel’s, here: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2017/06/18/did-uk-government-climate-mania-contribute-to-the-grenfell-tower-disaster/comment-page-1/#comment-2530397 ). See also J. Philip P. just below Wenzel’s. Maybe Ric Werme could look into it?

June 18, 2017 8:57 pm

The total cost of the Greenfell Tower refurbisment was over 8 millions Pounds…
according to a British building gazette.

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  naturbaumeister
June 18, 2017 11:12 pm

Of that cost, the insulation panels may be as low as $3 million. (One source says $1 million.) There were other changes made to the building hot water system and the windows, among other things. The window frames are another area that should be investigated.

Rick C PE
June 18, 2017 10:04 pm

I am somewhat surprised to see so much speculation about cause, motive and consequences regarding the Grenfell Tower fire from folks who normally demand facts and scientific evidence to support conclusions. There are millions of square meters of installed exterior insulation, rain screen/cladding systems installed world wide. Retrofitting older buildings with such systems to improve insulation can often be justified purely in economic terms by reducing heating and cooling costs.
I am quite familiar with several of these systems including proper design and testing to assess and mitigate fire risks. I would agree that in the Grenfell case something went terribly wrong. Maybe a highly flammable cladding was used in violation of codes, regulations and common engineering design practice. Maybe a foam insulation of the wrong type was used, or fire blocking specified was not installed. Photos of the building show at least 4-5 floors on one face are undamaged so it will be possible to examine all aspects of the cladding system and verify the details. e.g. if a non-combustible cladding was specified and a combustible material was installed, there will likely be criminal charges. I would expect the investigation to include mock-ups of the exact construction to be tested in a fire test lab.
There will be some real world proper science done and once it is we will know what actually happened.
That said I would not doubt that the owners used this “refurbishment” project to burnish their environmentalists virtue. Too bad they didn’t spend a few million more to add sprinklers and a modern fire alarm system while they were at it.

phaedo
Reply to  Rick C PE
June 18, 2017 10:42 pm

+1

ferdberple
Reply to  Rick C PE
June 18, 2017 10:47 pm

A lot of materials are completely safe when tested in a small fire but completely unsafe in a large fire.

richard verney
Reply to  ferdberple
June 19, 2017 1:28 am

Quite.
There is also speculation that the material may not have been tested vertically, but horizontally. I rather doubt that that is the case, but as we know from the emission scandal, testing often does not properly recreate real world application.
Look at the design (I have posted a picture above) with the air cavity that acts like a chimney drawing up hot air and the flame front .

DHR
Reply to  ferdberple
June 19, 2017 7:27 am

Or in a confined fire. Fires within spaces are not represented by panel tests such as shown in Mike McMillan’s video because, as you can see in the video, the heat of the fire escapes from the top of the test chamber. In an enclosed chamber, the heat is confined and will rapidly increase the temperature within, promoting greater fire. Likely both kind of materials shown in the video would likely burn completely in an enclosed space.

Rick C PE
Reply to  ferdberple
June 19, 2017 8:34 am

Ferdberople: Yes, that is why these systems need to be tested at relatively large scales. This provides a good overview of the type of testing that should be required.
http://www.fireengineering.com/content/dam/fe/online-articles/documents/2015/Valiulis.pdf

Reply to  ferdberple
June 19, 2017 3:09 pm

Fred
Don’t large fires 🔥 start as small fires?

jorgekafkazar
Reply to  Rick C PE
June 18, 2017 11:16 pm

There are considerable inconsistencies in the media-reported facts in this matter. Speculation based on the media should be avoided.

Retired Kit P
Reply to  Rick C PE
June 18, 2017 11:26 pm

Rick
I agree.
The last two houses I bought required fixing dryer venting issues, inadequate fire barriers, and installing additional smoke detectors.
Fire safety requires constant diligence.

Chris
Reply to  Rick C PE
June 19, 2017 8:29 am

“I am somewhat surprised to see so much speculation about cause, motive and consequences regarding the Grenfell Tower fire from folks who normally demand facts and scientific evidence to support conclusions.”
Exactly – for a site whose readers keep talking about evidence based science and conclusions, they sure are willing to engage in rampant speculation when it suits their purpose.

Reply to  Chris
June 19, 2017 10:33 am

Chris, I really don’t know why you bother to populate this blog with your fetid comments. I can’t remember reading one of your comments which had anything of substance to add to any subject.

catweazle666
Reply to  Chris
June 19, 2017 5:37 pm

It’s called “debate” Chris, a concept with which you are entirely unfamiliar.

jclarke341
Reply to  Chris
June 19, 2017 7:01 pm

If the law requires adding insulation in any exterior refurbishing for the purpose of carbon mitigation, then there is nothing else that needs to be known. Everyone agrees that using a flammable material was wrong, and that those responsible for that choice should be dealt with. Yet they would not have made that tragic choice without that regulation, which, by the way, produces no discernable benefit to the climate.

Chris
Reply to  Chris
June 20, 2017 6:52 pm

Luc Ozade, ooooh, you used a big word in your diatribe. “Fetid”. 5 points for Griffindor! You, on the other hand, are so unmemorable I don’t recall seeing your comments anywhere.

Chris
Reply to  Chris
June 20, 2017 6:57 pm

catweazle666, yes, it is called debate, but why not substantive debate? Why not informed debate? Something which your comments do not contribute to, sadly.

remus
Reply to  Rick C PE
June 19, 2017 9:34 am

+1 Rick. I used to work in a facility where ACM was manufactured. I also observed NFPA 285 testing on ACM FR panels. Using the proper spec ACM, and the correct mounting system alleviate all of the issues. If this is PE material, and the mounting system was not designed to compartmentalize each panel, they made an awful, awful mistake.

Roger Knights
Reply to  remus
June 19, 2017 6:30 pm

“If this is PE material, and the mounting system was not designed to compartmentalize each panel, they made an awful, awful mistake.”
This is a dark-horse candidate for where most of the guilt should fall, but it sounds plausible to me. It could just be the fault of an inexperienced architect unfamiliar with the intricacies of fire safety and the need for panels’ compartmentalization.
BTW, “speculation” is OK about a current event like this, provided it isn’t too dogmatic. WUWTers aren’t being inconsistent in wanting more stringency wrt long-standing climate alarmist claims where insufficient research was done and conclusions were lept to. (E.g., re the golden toad extinction, or the spread of tropical diseases from AGW, or climate refugees, etc.).

Greg
Reply to  Rick C PE
June 19, 2017 2:23 pm

“Too bad they didn’t spend a few million more to add sprinklers and a modern fire alarm system while they were at it.”
I’ve seen the figure of 200,000 GBP suggested from a credible, professional body as being the cost of a sprinkler system for the building. Not “millions”.

DavidS
June 18, 2017 10:16 pm

Not everything is about climate change regulations and that the cladding was carried out was not about climate change regulations. It was about two things, making the building warmer in winter and also, (probably more motivational for the local council) making it more aesthetically pleasing. What is scandolous is that inappropriate or even illegal materials were used and that while millions were being spent on the cladding, a sprinkler system was not fitted that would have cost £200,000.

richardscourtney
Reply to  DavidS
June 18, 2017 10:49 pm

DavidS:
Your excellent post is a reality check and in my opinion it is the best comment in the thread so far.
Richard

Leonard Lane
Reply to  DavidS
June 18, 2017 10:58 pm

DavidS, and from the picture shown, the firetrucks could only reach the lower levels of the building.
All the more reason for a sprinkler system.

Mike the Morlock
Reply to  Leonard Lane
June 19, 2017 12:03 am

Leonard Lane June 18, 2017 at 10:58 pm
“All the more reason for a sprinkler system.”
On the inside of the building yes.
I posted Material Safety Data Sheets earlier.
It is not just Aluminum used. Magnesium is also in the cladding. The Sheets state you are not suppose to use water if the stuff once it to starts burn with the metal catches fire.
Also the smoke is very toxic. Their are a lot of question in regards to this. C.E. standards. how were non compliant siding materials imported?
michael

Greg
Reply to  Leonard Lane
June 19, 2017 2:27 pm

… and that the cladding was carried out was not about climate change regulations.

WRONG, EU directives require external insulation be added if the façade is renovated. That directive is directly aimed at reducing “carbon emissions” , nothing else.

richard verney
Reply to  DavidS
June 19, 2017 1:46 am

We need to know full details about the fire before speculating, but if the fire spread on the outside of the building, a sprinkler system inside the building may not have been that effective.
There is speculation that the residents did not want a sprinkler system fitted because of prolonged disruption. See: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/grenfell-tower-fire-latest-sprinklers-not-fitted-residents-nick-paget-brown-claim-a7792736.html

Sprinklers were not fitted during the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower because residents did not want the prolonged disruption it would have caused, the leader of the council responsible for the block has claimed.

You state that

It was about two things, making the building warmer in winter

There is no problem in making a building warm in the winter, it is just the cost of doing so that limits how warm the property is kept.
If your assertion is right then that is due to Climate Change regulations that have resulted in electricity prices in the UK doubling these past 10 years or so.
More than 50% of the electricity bill is coupled to policies introduced by the green agenda. Electricity for heating is fast becoming unaffordable in the UK, and there are numerous people in fuel poverty. The director of SSE (one of the largest UK electricity suppliers) advised that 25% of the bill total goes to grants for home insulation schemes. and to help those in fuel poverty. Another 255 of the bill goes to infrastructure upgrades, which is coupling windfarms to the grid and balancing the grid. Only 50 %of the bill goes to cover the cost of supply, and the costs of supply have been increased due to the high strike price paid for wind and solar, and the carbon tax placed on fossil fuels.
But for all the green agenda, which has hiked electricity bills by more than 100%, even with no insulation on the flats. residents could have heated their flats some 30 to 40% cheaper.

michel
Reply to  richard verney
June 19, 2017 1:50 am

Richard, the fire spread not only outside in the cladding, but inside, with extraordinary rapidlty through the whole building. Despite the design having aimed at keeping the flats separate and contained in case of fire.
This is one thing that has to be explained. Along with the choice of cladding.

TinyCO2
Reply to  richard verney
June 19, 2017 2:10 am

Energy hasn’t been cheap for decades in the UK, long before climate change was mooted. Old blocks of flats have always been castigated as cold, damp and ugly often by their first inhabitants. Many homes including flats have used insulation as a way of keeping costs down or just making the place more pleasant. Some or even many of those insulation endeavours have made things worse. Grenfell tower was under consideration for demolition in 2004, probably for all the many flaws it had, including fire safety and the umpleasant conditions in the rooms. Saving energy is not a flaw. Bad design and/or underfunding jobs is the problem.
This is a band waggon we shouldn’t jump on.

Greg
Reply to  richard verney
June 19, 2017 2:31 pm

It’s not a band wagon. EU directives REQUIRE external insulation. The cost cutting exacerbated the fire hazard. EU regs introduced it.

Reply to  DavidS
June 19, 2017 1:55 am

What type of safe sprinkler system would have extinguished a fire raging on a flammable material on the outside of blockhouse? Sounds more like £200,000 would have been needed for the pump and plumbing alone. And judging from the local water infrastructure performance, also much closer proximity to Thames.
Mission impossible in my opinion. Based on the safety data sheet provided above, the firesafe temperature for the material is low (< 300 degrees Celsius). Not much above petrol. A conventional burning cigarette tip exceeds it easily.

TinyCO2
Reply to  jaakkokateenkorva
June 19, 2017 9:23 am

One that might have extinguished the fire in the first flat. One that would certainly have given the people in the building more time.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  jaakkokateenkorva
June 19, 2017 12:06 pm

Sprinkler systems in general (NFPA 13), and residential systems in particular(NFPA 13R) are not designed to extinguish a fire. They are designed to control a fire until the fire company arrives on the scene. For residential applications, the purpose is to provide a tenable environment along the path of egress for a sufficient period to allow the residents to exit safely. Of more concern is the limited means of egress. In the US, a high rise of this type would require a minimum of 2 exit stairways. If over 400 ft high, a third is required (since 09/11).
Of greater concern to me are reports that the stairwell was uses as ersatz storage space. If true, no doubt many lives we lost because residents could not exit quickly enough. There is mention in the press of a “smoke extraction” system. I would hope that this was actually a stairwell pressurization system.

June 18, 2017 10:31 pm

I watched the fire on You Tube as it caught my attention around 12:30 am PST. The sun was just starting to rise in London. I also fished around for other news stories which might have been out. What I read at the time, and this is speculative as I now note that there is no confirmation of this was that the fire was started by a malfunctioning refrigerator on a lower floor. It was stated that the door to the apartment where the fire started had been open at the time. That led to the fire rapidly moving out into the rest of the building. Then I came across comments stating that the refrigerator was a Turkish Beko which was known to have a defective defrost switch which could cause fires. The thought came to me that the owner of that fridge likely escaped the fire as he was on a lower floor. That would explain why it was known that the fire started with a faulty fridge, and that the door to the unit was left open.
As I read these comments which were coming from people there at the scene, more information came out about the Beko product. It was stated by several people that the Beko energy efficient refrigerators are cheaply made, but that they meet EU bureaucratic standards for energy efficiency. So here we are back to mandated regulations leading to a cheap dangerous product being sold in the EU. I also found out that the company had been trying to contact 100,000 EU owners of these units in an effort to get the refrigerators fixed. One person also stated that all Beko products were lousy. He mentioned that he had one of the refrigerators and an oven, both of which were low cost, crappy products. He staed that next time he would soend more money for a better more reliable product.The upshot of this is that once again it is the mad green agenda which has led to this tragedy.

ferdberple
June 18, 2017 10:43 pm

A cladding of CO2 would have been fireproof.

Greg
Reply to  ferdberple
June 19, 2017 2:35 pm

Good idea but not conforming to EU mandates.

Roger Knights
Reply to  ferdberple
June 19, 2017 6:38 pm

Or asbestos.

June 18, 2017 10:49 pm

The night of the fire I was watching videos on YouTube, and so became aware of the fire shortly after midnight PST. It was then early morning in London. I started reading the comments coming across, many from people who were witnessing the fire. That is where I first heard that the fire started on a lower floor, and that it was a Beko refrigerator that caused the fire. It was also stated that the door to that apartment was open at the time the fire started, and that aided the rapid spread of the fire into the rest of the building. I can only imagine that this info was known as the person in that apartment survived to tell the tale.
Then several different bloggers talked about the Beko product itself. They claimed that the refrigerators are cheaply made products from Turkey. The refrigerators have this known fire hazard which is due to a faulty defrost switch. The refrigerators are energy efficient, EU compliant cheap garbage, or so multiple people claimed. Poking around further I came across the fact that the Beko Company is trying to find all of the 100,000 EU owners of these refrigerators to have the necessary safety repair done. So here it can be seen that the mad green agenda is what led to this tragic fire in the first place. One owner of this product and also a Beko oven claimed that they are garbage, and that he would never buy anything else from that company.

Reply to  goldminor
June 18, 2017 11:16 pm

Wiki does state that the fire started in the kitchen of a 4th floor unit. …https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grenfell_Tower_fire

Reply to  goldminor
June 19, 2017 1:33 am

And here is some info on Beko appliances causing fires. It is speculative as to what actually caused the fire, but the commentary I was following seemed to be fairly certain of the cause. I was surprised to note no mention in the days to follow. …http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/662882/Warning-over-EXPLODING-Beko-Hotpoint-and-other-washing-machines
and here, …https://conversation.which.co.uk/home-energy/beko-fridge-freezer-fire-warning-advice-help/
there are many more stories on this, …http://www.itv.com/news/update/2014-09-26/which-beko-fridge-freezers-are-at-risk-from-fire-fault/

Reply to  goldminor
June 19, 2017 1:36 am

And here was something else which I had heard mentioned on that night of the fire, the cladding was not supposed to go higher than 10m. Someone made a major error. …http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/818480/cladding-Grenfell-tower-illegal-10m-32-feet-not-to-be-used-Arconic-manufacturer-Kensington

Reply to  goldminor
June 24, 2017 1:24 pm

Last note on cause of fire, it turns out that it was a malfunctioning refrigerator. Although the fridge in question was a Hotpoint, and not a Beko. Looking up complaints made against Hotpoint refrigerators there is documentation of their products causing fires as well as other general failures. Every comment in the complaints ended with “…will never buy another Hotpoint appliance..”. Beko appliances still hold the record for major failures, and for causing injuries or death.

Retired Kit P
June 18, 2017 10:56 pm

One of my jobs in the nuclear industry was root cause analyst. The first thing that happens after a serious problem is root balme. Blame usually reflects the agenda and mindset of the blamer.
When the root cause(s) is known, recurrence of the problem can be prevented.
It is too early to know the root cause.
Here is the problem with idiots. When they are not getting themselves killed, they are getting others killed.

Greg
Reply to  Retired Kit P
June 19, 2017 2:37 pm

root balme: is that something like Tiger Balm that you run in to get a hard on?

June 18, 2017 11:02 pm

Just trying to tease out the different factors to elucidate the (supposed) benefit of the cladding:
Saving money on heating bills
Reducing CO2
Appearance
Other?
I’m not sure how one works out the return on investment for any but the first one so I’ll focus on that: heating bills. Please feel free to argue over the totally guessed inputs. I think the underlying methodology, return on investment arguments and and calcs work fairly well so it would be a case of recalculating with new inputs.
The seemingly unavoidable conclusion is that return on investment for money saved in heating bills is a non-starter and that the whole operation was propelled by Climate Change fanaticism. If not, you have to argue that a very large part of the cost was for aesthetic reasons alone.
The refurbishment was £8million for
-A fair bit of conversion work on the first four floors (communal areas, 5 new flats).
-New hot water system
-New windows
-Cladding
-Other? I haven’t heard of anything else.
If you sideline £2million for the refurb and hot water, you’re left with £6million for the windows and cladding for the 122 flats above the fourth floor. So let’s say £50,000 per flat.
The window/cladding area ratio looks to be around 50/50 and I suspect that they cost very roughly the same per sq metre. Windows probably cost more but labour to install is easier because of being able to work from both sides. The cladding is all outside work at great height.
So we arrive at a very tentative £25,000 per flat for cladding. If you put in the windows for insulation purposes you really have to do the cladding too. However, these windows probably needed replacing anyway in which case there’s a stand-alone argument for their cost, irrespective of insulation. Going by that argument, the insulation from the windows is a small bonus and cladding isn’t needed.
So one can tentatively argue that the £25,000 cost per flat of the cladding is what we should consider as the absolute minimum capital outlay involved for reducing heating bills. If the windows were sound enough but replaced mainly for insulation, then the capital outlay is the full £50,000.
If it’s £25,000 per flat, the return on investment, which is heating bill savings, has to be defrayed over the years.
The ratio of two bed to one bed flats in the 122 above 4th floor is 2:1. I would guess the average heating bill (not quite the same as overall energy) would be perhaps £600/annum without insulation and £200/annum with. You could juggle each figure up or down but I’d guess that’s a generous estimate for a saving for a two-bed flat let alone the slightly smaller average size in this building (according to the 2:1 ratio).
25,000/400 = 62.5 years to get a return on your investment. It’s more like 80 years if you consider the £25,000 capital tied up.
This doesn’t look good as a return on investment option for energy savings alone only so one has to argue that the other factors, reducing CO2, appearance, other factors warrant the cost.
If the windows were sound enough and done mainly for insulation the capital cost is doubled and the return on investment jumps to 125 years or 160 years with capital tie-up.
Even if you slash all these estimates by half to get somewhere near a viable return on investment for cladding versus heating bill savings, there’s a huge elephant in the room: the estimated £400 saving is based on current UK energy costs.
We know energy costs have doubled or more over the last ten years due solely to Climate Change fanaticism. The real, underlying saving should be £200/annum or less. There’s no way you can square that with any of the sums above and say it’s a worthwhile return on investment for heating energy savings alone.
Ergo, Climate Change fanaticism was the main driver for putting up the cladding. This means that even if the inputs above need to be slashed and slashed to square the return on investment at present day energy prices, it’s still not a good return on investment for the true underlying cost of the energy without CC policies in place. So CC policies acted as the economic signal to make an non-worthwhile return on investment to a worthwhile one.
The above paragraph assumes you can slash the calculation inputs to get to a viable return on investment at current energy prices. In actual fact, I doubt you can achieve it. This means it really is the purely fanatical reduction of CO2 at any cost argument.
The crucial factor here is the doubling or more of domestic UK energy bills in the last 10 or so years.
Yes, cladding might give a good return on investment for a 2-storey building but it won’t cost as much per square metre because you can put up cheap scaffolding instead of hanging on a cradle* 300ft in the air. That’s why it cost (my estimation of) £25,000 per flat for cladding (and £25,000 for windows).
*I’m assuming it was a cradle because several near me were done that way.

richard verney
Reply to  scute1133
June 19, 2017 1:57 am

Your figures are approximately right since the total cost of the cladding was in the region of £2.6 million, and there were some 120 flats in the block, so that puts it at around £21,666 per flat.

richard verney
Reply to  scute1133
June 19, 2017 2:01 am

No tenant would save £21,000 worth of electricity, but then again since the flats were social housing they did not pay for the renovation, and probably got financial help with there electricity bills.
Even if the local authority effectively paid for the electricity (via council tax payments extorted from tax paying residents in the borough), It is unlikely that the cladding would reduce electricity bills by more than 10 to 20%, so it was never cost effective to anyone.

cirby
Reply to  scute1133
June 19, 2017 3:44 am

It’s actually a lot easier and cheaper (and safer) to put up a suspended scaffold than to try and build an external scaffold that tall. It’s affordable for cleaning windows.
To put external panels up on a building? Relatively cheap – they just drill holes and attach the panels. Unless the panels were expensive (and they weren’t), £25,000 per flat is outrageously expensive. Plain, insulated, fire-resistant aluminum cladding costs about £25 per square meter – and each apartment would need no more than ten square meters of cladding, from looking at the design of the building.
How does £250 in materials costs plus a couple of hours of labor (even at a large bonus for working that high) add up to £25,000?
Simple: It doesn’t.
Next question: Where did the money go?

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  cirby
June 19, 2017 12:18 pm

You have clearly never worked in construction, let alone high-rise construction. While Harley’s price of £2.6 million likely didn’t include the project’s total overhead, there are a myriad of costs incurred just to get to the place where someone drills the first hole in the facade for securing the supporting framework; lifts or cranes for transporting material, financing for the project, safety equipment for all the workers, engineering fees for the consultant who signs off on the design else the staff engineer who does the same, inspections at each phase of installation as stipulated by the contract, overhead for the firm, VAT, etc, etc, etc.

Greg
Reply to  cirby
June 19, 2017 2:44 pm

Why would you “sign off on” something?
The off cancels the on and you should just say signed or approved the design.
If signing off means approving, where does the ON come into it.
This is one of the most stupid clichés to come out in a long time.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  cirby
June 19, 2017 3:08 pm

@Greg
From Merriam-Webster online:
Definition of sign off
intransitive verb
1: to announce the end of something (such as a message or broadcast)
2: to approve or acknowledge something by or as if by a signature sign off on a memo
Take the issue up with them.

cirby
Reply to  cirby
June 19, 2017 7:20 pm

Actually, I have worked in construction, and my landlord runs a business that cleans and maintains high rises taller than the one in question.
While there’s certainly a lot of overhead, there isn’t £20,000 of overhead PER APARTMENT.
“Lifts or cranes for transporting material” – £1000 for an offroad forklift with operator per day to unload the trucks bringing in the panels, take the 1×1 meter panels up in the freight elevator. Most of the “crane” work is done by the moving scaffolding. If they planned it well (part of that “overhead” you’re talking about), they hand out the cladding through the openings when they’re replacing the windows on each unit. If you were doing a good job for a construction company, you’d think about this sort of thing.
“Financing” – included in the overall cost, it it’s more than a few percent for a governmental organization, someone stole something.
“Safety equipment for the workers” – any firm that would be allowed to bid on this has that equipment already. For example, the new safety harness I just got is up to spec for high work, with a built-in fall arrest strap, and was under $100. A helmet is a few bucks. Ditto for gloves. All up, buying everything they might possibly use over a year or so, you’re looking at a couple of hundred bucks for “safety equipment” per worker. Maybe.
The sort of handwaving you’re doing is the kind of thing that really, really dishonest contractors do to try and get £10,000 for a £500 job. Or that dishonest bureaucrats use to try and hide the bribes they took.

Reply to  scute1133
June 19, 2017 4:53 am

My comment with the calcs above got delayed in the system so I reposted it with a small addition to someone else. Apologies if you see it twice.
One good thing is that the implied overall cost of the cladding per the calculation (implied in £25,000 per flat) is £3million and I too have now seen the £2.6million figure for the whole contract. It must be correct because it’s in the Daily Mail (along with an aerial photo of the horrid capitalist company owner’s house, photo of his Porsche and information about his daughters).

Roger Knights
Reply to  scute1133
June 19, 2017 6:44 pm

“The crucial factor here is the doubling or more of domestic UK energy bills in the last 10 or so years.”
And the prospect of an additional doubling in the next ten years.

Reply to  scute1133
June 20, 2017 4:18 am

If we follow this line of thinking purely for the sake of debate:
How much lower would the insurance premium be for the freehold if this cladding were used? Does a “greener” building carry a lower premium?
That may be a large cost saving.

June 18, 2017 11:14 pm

‘Pink Batts’ roof insulation in Australia provided by the Labour Government to combat ‘Global Warming’ caused the direct death of several installers. Global Warming inspired mania for heat conservation has lead to reduction of ventilation and fresh air requirements in buildings which has increased interior humidity and gas levels. This contributes to fungal growth, mite infestation and asthma and lung ailments. A fire similarto the Grenfell Tower occured in Australia a few years ago caused by the use of cheap Chines, inflamable cladding and insulation. The ill-effects of Global Warming Mania are increasingly evident, including skyrocketting energy cvosts.

Sasha
June 18, 2017 11:19 pm

Tory council attempted to gag a blogger after warning about Grenfell Tower fire threat
A blogger who warned the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council of the dangers lurking in Grenfell Tower was threatened by local officials for writing about problems in the building.
In 2013 Francis O’Connor, a member of the Grenfell Action Group (GAG), urged councillors and landlord Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organization (KCTMO) to address the fire safety risks that new works on the building would cause.
GAG had several times tried to warn the council and the landlord that the building of a school and gym next to the estate would restrict emergency services’ access, including firefighting vehicles. A leaked letter reveals that officials at the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea tried to silence the campaigners, sending a lawyer to threaten O’Connor.
‘I am instructed that you previously posted blogs that have in general been critical of everything that takes place at Lancaster West in relation to the Kensington Academy Leisure Centre and investment on the estate,’ lawyer Vimal Sarna wrote to O’Connor in July 2013. It then instructed the group to delete the blog.
In 2016 an article on the blog predicted that only a tragedy would bring serious attention to the tower’s problems :
‘It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO, and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders. It is our conviction that a serious fire in a tower block or similar high density residential property is the most likely reason that those who wield power at the KCTMO will be found out and brought to justice!’
The scandal reached beyond local council remit when former Housing Minister Brandon Lewis ‘sat on’ information about the several fire risks in buildings such as Grenfell Tower. Lewis did not take action on safety irregularities on tower blocks over 30 meters tall because it could ‘discourage building.’ Instead he shrugged off suggestions that sprinklers should be installed in the block. Other ministers are believed to have also known about the damning evidence yet did nothing. Gavin Barwell who succeeded Brandon Lewis, Kris Hopkins and Mark Prisk also sat on the report and did nothing.

Reply to  Sasha
June 18, 2017 11:32 pm

That is so sad.

Sasha
June 18, 2017 11:25 pm

Council penny pinching and accepting lowest bid for work blamed for Grenfell Tower blaze by former borough worker
Often fire alarms did not work and a new external fire escape was not installed because it would cost too much, says a former council worker. The woman, who worked as a property manager for Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council for 20 years said the deadly blaze could have been prevented if the council had spent money upgrading it. But Grenfell Tower, run by Tenant Management Organization for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council, was not modernized during the employee’s two decades working in the property area of the authority.
Fire alarms did not work and a new external fire escape was not installed because it would cost too much. New cladding fitted to the outside of the building last year caused the blaze to rip through the block because substandard and cheap materials were used in an effort to save cash. ‘They spent £1 million on cladding the outside of the building last year, and surveyors told the council not to use the cheapest possible materials, but they accepted the lowest possible bid. The surveyors weren’t happy about it, but every time we brought it up with management they said ‘we hear you, but we simply can’t spend the money on upgrading the building.’ It was built in the 1970s and the council did not want to spend the money needed to bring it up to date because it would have cost so much money and taken so much work. The materials they used for the cladding was a cheap mixture rather than the more solid concrete. The cladding created a gap between the wall which caused the fire to spread even quicker throughout the floors.’
The woman, who retired in 2010, said she blames council bosses. ‘Kensington and Chelsea Council are responsible and for years bids were being made and they were all being turned down. I’m disgusted with the council. They think more about money than human lives. All the years I worked there it was like that. Every year I went on inspections of the building and every year the same problems continued. There needed to be an external fire escape and the residents were pushing for it, but it never got done because the cost came in too high at around £30m for all the upgrades. The council thought it was too much money to spend on one building and chose not to do it.
‘Seeing what happened this morning, I just couldn’t believe it, they risked over 600 people’s lives to save money. I was absolutely gutted, it really upset me, I knew the building so well and got to know a lot of the families. But I wasn’t surprised, I could see it happening and all the surveyors knew it did not meet the standards. The fire brigade were also unhappy with giving it a fire certificate, but the council did not want to have to re-home all those people.
‘Why did not they have working alarms? There should have been sprinklers in the communal areas too. The Councillors are to blame too, they had the final approval on every project so they knew what was going on. But because they are poor people in north Kensington they don’t want to spend the money.

commieBob
Reply to  Sasha
June 19, 2017 12:01 am

But I wasn’t surprised, I could see it happening and all the surveyors knew it did not meet the standards. The fire brigade were also unhappy with giving it a fire certificate, but the council did not want to have to re-home all those people.

Exactly. I assume the British have building codes the same as we do in America.
One of the issues in the building codes, as well as the fire codes, is flame spread of materials. It’s tested and certified for building materials.
This disaster should not have been a surprise. Where I live I can almost guarantee that the exterior cladding would not have been approved and a stop work order would have been issued.
Some folks should go to jail.

MikeA
June 18, 2017 11:26 pm

I picked up this from the UK blog Bishop Hill
Grenfell Tower outer cladding.
The outer cladding comprised of 150mm of Celotex FR500, 50mm ventilated cavity and 3mm Zinc Composite.
The celotex has Class 0 fire performance rating which is the highest performance classification you can get.
I’m unable to determine the exact zinc composite panels used but they are likely similar to these. Note the the 50mm air gap appears to be needed for the struts the panels are mounted on. The polyethylene core is fire retardant.
There is some fake news going around that the cladding was put on simply because the posh neighbours thought it was an eyesore. This isn’t the case. The cladding was added because the U-value for the existing wall was 1.5W/m2.K which is 5 times higher than current regulations allow.
It is possible that everybody followed or even exceeded the building regulations and still the tragedy occurred.
Source
Just thought I’d quote this in full as I found it quite interesting.
The Source link shows that there was a 50mm cavity. It appears that in some installations where there are cavities a non-flammable barrier is installed in a series of rings around the building to stop flames traveling upwards inside the cavity. A google search of that council’s planning applications and terms such as ‘corofil’ (a brand of barrier) or ‘cavity barrier’ show that there have been applications where barriers were included in the plans. I don’t know if this is something the planning department would insist upon or even consider.
In the same Source link, in the same section detailing the insulation, I noticed that the refurbishment of the panel between the windows was to be insulated with 100mm Celotex FR5000 and also 25mm Celotex FR5000. Celotex FR5000 isn’t available in 25mm thickness according to the Celotex website, but going by web.archive.org it used to be.
Clearly we will need to wait until the proper investigations get underway to get to the ‘truth’ of this truly dreadful event. I’m not suggesting that the above is that. What is very apparent in the UK news reporting (I live in the UK) is that the left are making a big political meal out of this; anything to bring down the democratically elected government. A significant proportion of people I’ve seen being interviewed in the street, that initially seem to present themselves as victims of the fire, turn out to be mouthy, articulate activists, who claim to know someone who was a victim.

Leo Smith
Reply to  MikeA
June 19, 2017 7:18 am

nearly correct.
The celotex is there for insulation, and its fire proof in general.
The polypropylene cladding used was NOT fire resistant at all, and is absolutely known to go up like a Roman candle.
The polypropylene cladding is there because the celotex is there, to protect it and reduce the ugliness of it.
The real issue is becoming whether or not that cladding was legal, and if so who let it be, and if not, who specified it and why didn’t building control pick up on it.

Greg
Reply to  MikeA
June 19, 2017 2:50 pm

3mm Zinc Composite.
Crap you can melt zinc as easily as lead’tin solder. Not a very convincing fire protection for the inflammable foam.

AJB
Reply to  MikeA
June 19, 2017 5:38 am

Nope, RS5000: https://www.celotex.co.uk/products/rs5000
A spokesman for manufacturer Celotex said: “Our thoughts are with those affected by the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower. Our records show a Celotex product (RS5000) was purchased for use in refurbishing the building. If required, we will assist with enquiries from the relevant authorities at the appropriate time.”
http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/grenfell-tower-fire-cladding-will-burn-warns-manufacturer-1-4477136
However, like so much in the press that article confuses the insulation with the rain screen. And nobody is talking about the appauling sill/head cold bridge detailing around those replacement windows (“casings” for our US bretheren). Look no further if you want to see how a fridge exploding on the inside managed to quickly ignite that ridiculous polyethylene cored ACM crap on the outside and re-enter elsewhere. Spreading like wildfire and completely negating the building’s fire compartmentalisation strategy throughout. Crap that is not as far as I’m aware permitted above 10m in the UK BTW.
http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/818321/Grenfell-tower-fire-over-insulated-avoid-repeat-job-cladding
http://cdn.images.express.co.uk/img/dynamic/1/590x/secondary/Grenfell-Fire-972809.jpg

Leo Smith
Reply to  AJB
June 19, 2017 7:14 am

Th fire risk was not the celotex insulation, it was the rain cladding of polypropylene sheet that is possibly illegal
Now the rain cladding may have been needed to disguise the sheer ugliness of external celotex and protect it from birds, but the disaster is not about the insulation, as it transpires, its about the decorative and rainproof layer erected over it.

richard verney
Reply to  AJB
June 19, 2017 8:20 am

Why clad the building at all?
The cladding is simply an enormous waste of money. Money is a valuable resource, and is best not wasted. This is especially so in times of economic downturn.
The Tower Block as per its original design did not have any cladding, so why clad it? Whilst the reasons behind this disaster are many, the answer to that question, will tell you the primary reason for the disaster..

AJB
Reply to  AJB
June 19, 2017 9:36 am

Yes Leo, that’s pretty much what I’ve just said. The ACM apparently had a flammable polyethylene core (it’s not polypropylene sheet). But you also seem to be missing the point regarding closure detailing. From some of the photos I’ve seen it looks like the replacement windows, inner sill and head closures were all UPVC or similar. A small fire on the inside would therefore quickly find its way up behind the flammable ACM rain screen and its game over. The Celotex is largely irrelevant, will just shrivel up and allow the passage of fire to the flammable stuff. Except perhaps for the gases it’ll give off when cooked like that.
I’m old school. In my world you do not shove ludicrous levels of insulation willy-nilly on the outside like that. If you can’t fix the heat loss/cold bridging/condensation problems in old buildings like this properly from the inside then demolish them. Especially if they also have water ingress/evap issues that aren’t easily addressed. Insulation goes on the inside and windows are for ventilation.
High thermal capacity, externally insulated construction does not suit modern living. If you’re designing from scratch you can incorporate centralised heat recovery but in an old building like this the level of external insulation used here is pretty pointless. You still need air change and the extra insulation merely slows down energy dissipation a tad during the day when the heating is off and folk are out and about.
The thermal capacity of all that concrete is massive. But the thermal capacity of regular and necessary air change is also significant. A sensible level of dry lining therefore wins hands down without compromising fire compartmentalisation. Arguments over minor loss of floor space and ease of construction are not significant if the entire block is being refurbed. U-values of externals are misleading if you don’t consider air change and usage patterns.

lewispbuckingham
June 18, 2017 11:41 pm

What I don’t understand is the alleged ignition cause, an exploding refrigerator on the fourth floor.
Possibly the wiring melted down on the motor, but why would it have exploded?
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/grenfell-tower-cause-fridge-faulty-fourth-floor-london-kensington-disaster-latest-a7792566.html
http://www.firstpost.com/world/watch-london-fire-exploding-refrigerator-might-have-caused-grenfell-tower-blaze-say-reports-3646291.html
I wondered if it was a meth lab or something that is explosive.

Greg
Reply to  lewispbuckingham
June 19, 2017 9:32 pm

Of little importance. House fires do occur and should not be allowed to kill 100+ people.

Sasha
June 18, 2017 11:54 pm

There are 1,500 fires in education establishments every year, but there is no corner the Tories will not cut in the name of ‘Austerity’
Austerity kills people. It is a political choice, and a radical economic measure. It is not conventional economic wisdom. People have starved to death, committed suicide, died on trolleys in hospitals and burned to death in their homes. The Tory party made these choices and these are the consequences.
(Compassion is an alien concept to the Tories when they are in power, but they bleat about it a lot when they are out of power.)
###
The Tories watered down rules on sprinklers in schools a week after fire destroyed classrooms
The lack of a sprinkler system is among safety failures that contributed to the Grenfell Tower tragedy. The Fire Protection Association said they would have saved lives. Theresa May’s chief of staff Gavin Barwell delayed a review into fire safety regulations for tower blocks when he was Housing Minister.
One policy the Tories did manage to review during the same period was rules on sprinkler systems in schools in England – which are compulsory in Scotland and Wales. In July 2016 the Tory Government held a consultation on the BB100 document, saying it needed simplifying and it was far too long. Afterwards, the Department for Education announced it was dropping the expectation that new schools should be fitted with sprinklers. The Tory document says ‘The Building Regulations do not require the installation of fire sprinkler suppression systems in school buildings for life safety and therefore BB 100 no longer includes an expectation that most new school buildings will be fitted with them.’ This announcement has now disappeared from the Tory Government’s website.
Education Secretary Justine Greening took the decision a week after a big fire at a school in Chichester which destroyed 15 classrooms before being put out by a team of 75 firefighters.
###
In Germany claddings such as those used on Grenfell Tower are forbidden. There is also the requirement for two stairways in all houses taller than 23 meters as this is how far the fire service’s ladders can reach. Houses above 30 meters houses must have extra water connections with special pumps for fire services, as water hoses can only reach a certain hight. There is also a requirement for an extra elevator for fire services because firefighters may become exhausted if they walk up so many stairs in full gear with their equipment. There were people in the upper part of Grenfell Tower that had been waiting for help yet died because they were never reached by fire services.

michel
Reply to  Sasha
June 19, 2017 12:28 am

Its nothing to do with party politics. Nor is it anything to do with green mania.
The tower itself is similar to many others built by both Labour and Conservative councils all over the country during that period. Just as Ronan Point, a tower which collapsed due to an explosion in one kitchen, was similar to towers put up by both Labour and Conservative councils. In fact, in the post WWII period Labour councils in what is now understood to be urban vandalism on a grand scale demolished huge quantities of traditional housing and replaced it with jerrybuilt towers built as cheaply as possible, and turning into welfare ghettos.
The traditional housing that they did not managed to demolish now sells for huge amounts, and the tower blocks they built are no-go areas and unsaleable.
If you want a specific example, look at the Southwark tower block that had a notorious fire in which there were some fatalities. That is comparable to Grenfell. Labour Council, permanent Labour majority, built and maintained by it. They just got lucky that time.
Its not due to green mania, because there is a perfectly safe way of cladding buildings in aluminum, and that is to use mineral insulation as the insulating layer. That will not burn.
it is not due to austerity. The Kensington council did not try to get the building renovated on the cheap. The contractors may have.
The thing that you have to explain is quite simple. Anyone looking at the clips of the fire will have noticed two things. First that the fire went over the front of the building with great speed. This must have been a cladding fire and must have been due to the choice of insulation material.
The second thing is that at a point when about one third of the frontage was in flames, so that the windows behind these flames were invisible, there was fire behind almost all the other windows.
This cannot have been due to cladding fire. This was because the fire had raced through the interior and spread from apartment to apartment. This cannot have been due either to austerity, the Tory government, green mania or any combination of them. The most likely explanation is that it was due to large scale mains gas escape and transmission down airways between buildings. The most likely explanation of how this happened is either original defects of design or construction, or faults introduced during renovation works.
In short, Sasha, stop flailing around blaming generalities, and instead look analytically at cause and effect in a scientific fashion.
The same sort of silly ignorance that is in this post was manifest in the attempts by the various Trotskyite groups to take over demonstrations and turn them into riots. The quality of that can be seen is that a volunteer who had come to help was beaten by the mob because he was wearing a suit, and was taken by it to be therefore a council employee. He was not, and this was a lesson to any other ‘bourgeois’ well meaning people – once the Trots are on site, stay away. And in present day Britain that will be immediately.
The silly ignorance with malice is also found in the shameful demand by Corbyn and McDonnell that the occasion be used as an excuse to seize property of people they call ‘the rich’ and given to the homeless. Which, if it could even be done, and its incompatible with the EU Human Rights Convention to do it, could not be done in time to give prompt assistance. Corbyn is actually suggesting that the mob invade and occupy local buildings. Go through, find some with no-one in them, then occupy. As usual Corbyn is not specific, he says occupy, requisition or whatever. He means occupy.
The Council and government are rightly focused on getting the accommodation problem solved in days and weeks, not months, and by getting living space, not by indulging in political gestures or criminality.
The UK housing problem is a number of different things.
One is the shoddy buildings left over from bad construction practices during the urban vandalism of the post war period. The second is the huge deficits. Contrary to the post, there is no austerity in the UK. The problem on the contrary is the deficit, which leads to the wealth flowing to the finance sector, who manage the debt.
This is coupled with unlimited immgration in search of work, which leads to a housing shortage and high priced housing. And in the face of this government and council policy is to take existing housing off the market by making sure that everyone has the right to housing where they live at the moment, regardless of their circumstances. It is a crazed perfect storm of policy. It is designed to produce a housing crisis and soaring prices in London, while the country is actually full of housing that could be used. But its in Newcastle., and no-one would every suggest an out of work family on welfare should consider moving to Newcastle, would they?

Sasha
Reply to  michel
June 19, 2017 2:05 am

The Tory ideology of ‘austerity’ led to the horror of Grenfell Tower
That fire killed twice as many people in one night than have been killed in terrorist attacks in Britain over the past ten years.
The Grenfell fire was like watching the news of a disaster somewhere in the Third World when an earthquake strikes, ravaging the shanty towns. But this was not Asia, or Africa or Latin America. This was the wealthiest district of the wealthiest city in one of the wealthiest countries in the world. We still do not know how many people have died, and perhaps we never will. Whole families have been incinerated, leaving no-one alive who even knows they are missing.
The blackened ruin stands as a monument to dozens of men, women and children who died because they were poor. They lived their lives in an island of poverty surrounded, by an ocean of riches. The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea has the greatest proportion of high earners anywhere in Britain. It is populated by bankers, stockbrokers, Royals and wealthy celebrities. It has the highest average life expectancy of Britain. Terraced houses in the area change hands for an average of £4.3m. Many stand empty because they are not homes – they are investments. The idle properties of the idle rich.
The poor of this borough die 12 years younger than their rich neighbours. They are packed away in dismal, dilapidated, overcrowded tower blocks that for wealthy residents of the borough were nothing but an irritating eyesore, a blot on an upmarket cityscape. ‘How good it is to dwell in unity’ is the grimly ironic motto of the Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council.
No doubt it will emerge there were many failures that led to the catastrophic loss of life at Grenfell. Most of them could probably be summed in two words. Greed and incompetence. The public do not need a public inquiry to let them know that wrapping a 24-storey tower block in a flammable blanket was a reckless, potentially criminally irresponsible gamble with the lives of hundreds of people. All to save a paltry £6000.
Scores of Grenfell residents were killed by inequality, deregulation, privatisation and the Tories’ fanatical adherence to ‘austerity.’ The tenants predicted it would happen but their pleas were ignored by politicians, the bureaucrats and the profiteers. The lives of people on the margins are cheap.
Social housing was pioneered in Glasgow by Red Clydesider John Wheatley, an Independent Labour Party Councillor and later MP in the East End of Glasgow. Under his influence, graceful council housing schemes such as Riddrie, Mosspark and Knightswood were built in the 1920s and remain to this day some of the finest examples of municipal housing ever built in this country.
Many have since been sold and resold as result of Thatcher’s mass privatization of social housing. Why in the 1920s, with national wealth and GDP a mere fraction of modern levels, were we able to undertake such visionary, far-reaching social projects that transformed the lives of the poor? And why, in the infinitely richer society we live in today, do we still tolerate slums, overcrowding and homelessness?
Before Thatcher, more than a third of people across Britain lived in social housing. In Scotland, the figures were much higher. Two-thirds of Glasgow’s housing stock was owned and run by the elected and accountable council. But ‘right-to-buy’ was introduced, social housing estates became ghettoised and people who needed social housing were stigmatized.
Then we had arms-length housing associations, with tenants passed around from one landlord to another, while all the works associated with maintaining the stock was privatized, contracted out, then further sub-contracted to a multitude of private companies. A visionary idea by pioneering socialists evolved into a profiteer’s dream. As the full horror of Grenfell Tower began to unfold, I was struck by the absence of stirring ministerial announcements telling us that enough is enough, and that the first priority of government is to keep people safe.
After the London Bridge and Manchester terror attacks, money was no object. The Army paraded the streets, armed police appeared on every corner and huge resources were allocated to intelligence and surveillance. So where are the raids on the offices of the Kensington and Chelsea Tenants Management Organisation, which ignored the fears and warnings of Grenfell tenants? Who is rounding up the leaders and officials of Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council and interrogating them? Who is seizing the contracts, documents, risk assessments, email accounts and telephone records of Rydon and the eight companies to which it sub-contracted the Grenfell refurbishment work?
Who among this lot are responsible for the deaths of twice as many people in one night than have been killed in terrorist attacks in Britain over the past ten years? When will the ideological warriors who called for a ‘bonfire of red tape’ be called to account for incitement to send people up in smoke? Like David Cameron, for example, who boasted he wanted his to be the first government in modern history to leave office having reduced the overall burden of regulation, rather than increasing it. The first priority of successive Governments over the past 30 years has not been to keep people safe but to keep profits safe.
Management-speak is an abomination. It talks of ’empowering people’ – workers, tenants and members of the community. What that meant in practice was perfunctory so-called ‘consultation’ and token participation. It was a sham designed to disguise the fact that the middle-class elite (who always know better- or so they think) were running the show from top to bottom. Yet when disaster struck at Grenfell Tower, it was the community that rallied around and provided the emotional support, the food, the clothing and the infrastructure on the ground, while the myriad of arm’s-length organizations, contractors and sub-contractors were nowhere to be seen.
It is horrendous that it has taken a real bonfire, an inferno, to expose the reality of deregulation, privatization and ‘austerity.’ All the protests, all the warnings went unheard.

Leo Smith
Reply to  michel
June 19, 2017 7:21 am

This must have been a cladding fire…

..yes…

…and must have been due to the choice of insulation material.

NO!!!
It was due to the choice of CLADDING. Not INSULATION.

catweazle666
Reply to  michel
June 19, 2017 5:46 pm

“The Tory ideology of ‘austerity’ led to the horror of Grenfell Tower”
Utter drivel.
The Tories were not the council responsible for the Grenfell tower update, Labour was.

Reply to  Sasha
June 19, 2017 3:57 pm

Sacha
Austerity kills people. It is a political choice, and a radical economic measure
Total brain-dead leftist bullchit. “Austerity” is inverted Alice-in-Wonderland fantastical disconnect from reality and responsibility.
Austerity is a word only used by people sulking because someone has refused to let them steal their money.
Austerity is a complete nothing-word which simply means NOT going into unrepayable debt.
Austerity simply means spending the money that you actually have.
Austerity means not yanking food out of your children’s mouths and stuffing it into your own.
It’s very obvious why something like Sacha should hate “Austerity”

catweazle666
Reply to  Sasha
June 19, 2017 5:58 pm
Griff
June 19, 2017 12:33 am

no, it didn’t.
anyone here against refurbishing and insulating the homes of poorer people?
[Yes, me, if the insulation puts them at risk of being killed in a fire or other health issue. Green is not the end-all, save-all mandate. People first, Gaia second. Just ask the families of the dead. – Anthony]

michel
Reply to  Griff
June 19, 2017 1:42 am

Anthony, Griff is right. I am afraid! The green mania led perhaps to insulation and cladding. But it did not lead to the choice of this particular cladding. Mineral wool and non-combustible cladding was available, at minimal added cost. Its a real question why they did not use it.
The decision to insulate, particularly if you know the building standards of those old tower blocks, was quite sensible. The problem is implementation, and that was not a green issue.

Reply to  michel
June 19, 2017 1:52 am

The manufacturer of the cladding states that it is not too be used higher than 10 meters. That would appear to be a key point in this tragedy.

Leo Smith
Reply to  michel
June 19, 2017 7:28 am

The insulation was not the problem. The overcladding was.
It should have been a mineral board, not aluminium or zinc coated plastic foam.
But I have to laugh at Griffs hypocrisy. One of the reasons the people are poor is on account of Griffs renewable chums forcing energy prices higher to pay for their virtue signalling prayer wheels and Silly panels.
The other reason is that the tower was full of immigrants ‘seeking asylum*,’ and the governments idiotic open door policy foisted on us by the European Union means there is pressure to house people in what may not be the best accommodation.
Instead of telling them the country is full up.
*seeking a free ride

toorightmate
Reply to  Griff
June 19, 2017 6:15 am

And in keeping with Griff’s leadership,, any construction using timber must cease immediately.

sunsettommy
Reply to  Griff
June 19, 2017 9:59 am

Griff, you missed this part:
“Update (EW): Dr Jim Glockling, Technical Director of the Fire Protection Association, said the following in an interview about Grenfell;
“There has been an emerging body of evidence surrounding some of the materials being used and now we have an appalling demonstration of what can happen,” he said.
Alongside the cosmetic appeal of cladding, it is used as an insulation to make buildings more sustainable to meet green energy requirements.
“It could be that this is the quest for sustainability trumping other concerns,” Dr Glockling warned.”
Another example of misguided environmental concern.

Joel Snider
Reply to  sunsettommy
June 19, 2017 12:29 pm

He didn’t miss it. He’s whitewashing it.

catweazle666
Reply to  Griff
June 19, 2017 5:51 pm

“anyone here against refurbishing and insulating the homes of poorer people?”
So, along with dead birds, dead bats, dead whales and dead pensioners, you consider dead children to be an acceptable trade-off to make to ‘Save the World™ from the evils of CO2 emissions.
No surprise there…

wws
Reply to  Griff
June 19, 2017 8:38 pm

Excellent point, Anthony. I should point out that shredded paper makes fine insulation, and it is very cheap. Griff, do you think we should surround every house in the UK with cladding consisting of 2 parallel layers of plywood 6 inches apart, and the gap between them stuffed with shredded paper? It would be great insulation, I promise, but do you think there might be something that could go wrong with that plan???

rd50
June 19, 2017 12:47 am

Nothing new about this fire. See same pictures in previous fires.
https://foursevenfive.com/reason-foam-fails-2-unacceptable-fire-hazard/

Chris Hanley
June 19, 2017 1:01 am

Climate Change™ was a factor in the cladding fire IMO.
A quick google search came up with two examples of the composite panels being recommended as retrofitted insulation to residential buildings in London.
BRE Global, the Building Research Establishment Ltd (BRE), a former UK government establishment but now a private organisation “Protecting People, Property and the Planet” in The Green Guide to Specification –External cladding & Facade 2009 states “Coated steel / aluminium composite profiled insulated panels mostly all get A’s”, another example is given in An Urban Politics of Climate Change … etc.: Maintaining the Brixton Low Carbon Zone … “ … large scale energy retrofit programme for 845 homes on the Loughborough estate (started in January 20120 which included: insulated flat roofs system to tower blocks … insulated cladding to external walls …”.
Of course none of that answers whether the particular cladding used had been specified by the architects or approved by the local building authority.

michel
Reply to  Chris Hanley
June 19, 2017 1:45 am

No, Climate Change was only a factor in the decision to clad.
It did not lead to choosing these particular panels rather than the readily available safe and non-combustible ones.
The question is why these were chosen, and the thing that is certain is that climate change was not a factor in that choice.
What was, we shall doubtless find out in due course. The cynical had best keep their thoughts to themselves meanwhile….!

Bryan A
Reply to  michel
June 19, 2017 2:40 pm

And they had best remove/replace the cladding on any other High Rise project where the same materials were used

Roger Knights
Reply to  michel
June 19, 2017 7:07 pm

“The question is why these were chosen, and the thing that is certain is that climate change was not a factor in that choice.”
But mightn’t the panels used have been better insulators, and therefore more green? I’m sure that Mineral board and mineral wool aren’t nearly as good as insulators as the foam that was used.

Jolan
June 19, 2017 1:33 am

For anyone interested in the EU dimesion re; the Grenfell Tower block fire I recommend you read EUReferendum.com (an excellent blog concerning all matters EU) for the 18th and 19th June.

Peta from Cumbria, now Newark
June 19, 2017 1:36 am

In answer to your headline – Yes it did.
And Government mania is responsible for shed-loads of stupidity around the (English speaking especially) globe.
Windmills are pure cr4p. Mechanically they are nightmares on 2 fronts. You have a heavy rotating load (blades) on a shaft supported at only one end. Its crazy. Take a look at all the bearings supporting the crankshaft in your car or truck engine. Where’s the equivalent in a windmill?
Also, unless they use neodymium magnets, they need a gearbox. A box that goes from typically 18 rpm to 3000 or 3600 rpm. And its an ‘up’ ratio. Just pure he11 to design, build and maintain.
And now they tell us Drax is going to burn natural gas, presumably in the 3 or 4 (out of 6) that aren’t burning American trees.
Again its madness. Natural gas is as near perfect replacement for petrol/gasoline as you’ll get for cars and trucks. Plus, it won’t create smoke when you burn it.
(Some long while ago, before computer controlled common rail injections, the injection of small amounts of propane was perfected as a way of reducing diesel engine smoke. It worked. All the truck needed was a small gas cylinder and a valve connected (indirectly) to the driver’s typically leaden right foot.)
So for Drax, because you cannot put coal in cars or trucks, burn the coal in Drax and clean up the smut with big & heavy and power & water hungry machinery. At the place its created, before it ‘escapes’. Even though Scandinavians loved it because it fertilised their forests.
And lets face it, not a lot else happens in Scandavia.
Maybe and with a modicum of craft, natural gas will go through a fuel cell and that gets rid not only of the soot but most of the NOx as well. What Is Not To Like.
Apart from, nat gas is delivered almost everywhere already so, the snake salesmen & assorted cronies will find it tough going to make their usual mint.
There’s no intelligence anymore. Government is just panicked into one hurried and ill-conceived scheme after another. See, they even apologised for ‘getting it wrong’ when diesel was mandated as a better fuel than petrol, 15+ years ago.
The cynical among us will know that a Government apology is simply something to soften us all up in front of a raft of new taxes and expensive to comply with regulations.
Its more of a cancer than a mania. It just grows and grows, consuming exponentially (because old regulations & taxes are never rescinded) more and more resource and eventually, it kills the host.
So next time soon, when you meet walking down the street an Ancient Roman, Phoenician, Maya, Inca, Rapa-Nui, Himyar or others of that ilk , they’ll tell you about it.

michel
Reply to  Peta from Cumbria, now Newark
June 19, 2017 1:48 am

You have to get clear. There were two decisions. One was the decision to clad. I think this was probably quite sensible. Those old buildings were very badly constructed and would have been hugely expensive to heat or cool. So insulation and cladding was in itself a good idea and probably cost effective.
Then there was the decision to use flammable cladding. That was not motivated by any green considerations. Fireproof cladding is available at minimal added cost. The question is why it was not picked. Different question, greenery not in any way responsible for it.

Reply to  michel
June 19, 2017 5:31 am

There were two decisions. One was the decision to clad. I think this was probably quite sensible.

Difficult to say in retrospect. 1970’s blockhouses aren’t famous for durability. Cladding is only hiding the fact.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  michel
June 19, 2017 6:12 am

“:jaakkokateenkorva June 19, 2017 at 5:31 am”
Artex covers that!

Reply to  michel
June 19, 2017 6:25 am

Good point Patrick. Perhaps the cladding covered the asbestos in the Artex underneath.

richard verney
Reply to  Peta from Cumbria, now Newark
June 19, 2017 2:18 am

Those old buildings were very badly constructed and would have been hugely expensive to heat or cool. So insulation and cladding was in itself a good idea and probably cost effective.

Aircon in the UK is almost unheard of. it is hugely expensive to heat a property due to rising costs of energy due to the green agenda. But that said, it was never cost effective to clad the building to save energy costs.
According to Wikipedia, the total cost of the cladding was in the region of £2.6 million, and there were some 120 flats in the block (a mixture of 1 and 2 bed flats). That puts the costs of the cladding at around £21,666 per flat.
Average electricity/gas bill in the UK for a 2 bedroom flat is about £800 pa, so if the cladding reduced the energy bill by say 25%, that would be a saving of only about £200 per year. On that basis (ignoring interest/ROI on the installation of the cladding), it would take about 100 years to pay for the cladding on the basis of lower energy bills/fuel savings.
As you can see it was not cost effective. It was all about environmental issues pertaining to the saving CO2 as per the comments made by Janice above.

richard verney
Reply to  richard verney
June 19, 2017 2:19 am

Whoops, formatting error. Only the first para was intended to be blockquoted.

cirby
Reply to  richard verney
June 19, 2017 3:58 am

…except that they’re comparing what they spent (£21,666 in this estimation) instead of what the cladding actually cost, installed (a small fraction of that amount). The actual cost of the cladding material is about ONE PERCENT of what they spent, and installation would never cost the additional £20,000 or so.
At £2,000 per apartment instead of £21,666, ROI changes drastically, and the payout period becomes 10 years instead of a century.
Someone in the UK has a bunch of forensic accounting in their future, and they won’t enjoy the results.

Reply to  richard verney
June 19, 2017 5:48 am

Richard
Our calcs seem to chime quite well, and I reckoned on £600/year because of the 2:1 ratio of 2-bed to 1-bed. So that’s quite close too. However I reckoned on a 2/3 saving (600 down to 200 to give a £400 saving). Your saving ratio is a lot less, giving £200. I’m only going on what people say when they have their homes well insulated and say they hardly have to put the heating on/ plummeting costs etc. But maybe you’re not guessing it like I am and have more knowledge? I don’t know, but it puts the two calcs out by a factor of two after agreeing up to that point. (But both show no ROI case at all).
(I wish the council would give me £65,000 to do up my flat. It would be palatial.)

Reply to  richard verney
June 19, 2017 6:11 am

…except that they’re comparing what they spent (£21,666 in this estimation) instead of what the cladding actually cost, installed (a small fraction of that amount). The actual cost of the cladding material is about ONE PERCENT of what they spent, and installation would never cost the additional £20,000 or so.

They only need to evade the taxes and print the stuff directly on the wall.

michel
Reply to  richard verney
June 19, 2017 9:25 am

The decision that led to disaster was not the decision to insulate. Whether or not that was financially justified is not the issue. We should not be criticizing the council in connexion with the disaster for having decided to insulate.
The decision that led to disaster was the decision to insulate with flammable materials.
Now, it may be that this was because the flammable materials were thought to be ‘greener’, but I have seen no evidence put forward to support this. This however is what you have to show if you are going to blame green ideas for the disaster.
Where is the evidence that the decision not to use the roughly similarly priced mineral insulation was motivated by green political correctness? Maybe there is some such evidence, but no-one has produced any yet.

Roger Knights
Reply to  richard verney
June 19, 2017 7:17 pm

It may have also been partly or largely that “the mounting system was not designed to compartmentalize each panel”.

Roger Knights
Reply to  richard verney
June 19, 2017 7:20 pm

PS: And as Michel said, it may have been partly or largely due to:
“This cannot have been due to cladding fire. This was because the fire had raced through the interior and spread from apartment to apartment. This cannot have been due either to austerity, the Tory government, green mania or any combination of them. The most likely explanation is that it was due to large scale mains gas escape and transmission down airways between buildings.”

Towering Inferno
Reply to  Roger Knights
June 19, 2017 7:33 pm

Oh right (eye roll). Let’s ignore Jose videos of the fire racing up th exterior cladding !

Roger Knights
Reply to  richard verney
June 19, 2017 8:44 pm

You’re correct; Michel over-stated in dismissing the cladding fire. I should have said so. What I agree with is that his gas mains theory may be the main reason for why the fire spread so quickly and was so deadly.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
June 19, 2017 2:10 am

We will have to wait to see exactly why the building burnt so rapidly as to prevent escape for so many poor victims. But Commie Bob is right that if there is deliberate negligence somebody has to go to jail. I do recall having dealings with the project manager of the construction of a major factory who was tearing his hair out because although non-flammable Rockwool had been specified for insulating a very large roof cavity, he was constantly having to turn away contractors arriving with rolls of fiber-glass who tried to tell him “it’s the same stuff mate, no difference”. Wisely he stuck to his guns and turned them away.

toorightmate
Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
June 19, 2017 6:19 am

If we put the same brainpower into planning as we do in attempting to allocate blame, we would not have these disasters.
But no. We would rather be a slack as, and then cry foul.

Reply to  toorightmate
June 19, 2017 10:35 am

+100

drednicolson
Reply to  toorightmate
June 20, 2017 9:01 am

But fewer disasters means fewer lucrative lawsuits. 😐

June 19, 2017 2:59 am

Another green angle is that it has been reported that the original source of the fire was an exploding fridge. As far as I know modern fridges use Tetrafluoroethane instead of CFC’s and as far as I know Tetrafluoroethane can be quite flammable under certain pressure conditions. Also I understand that fridges are lined with polyurephane as insulation which can be highly flammable.