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Old 16th June 2017, 12:05 AM   #321
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
Can you at least start with the premise something went wrong?
Originally Posted by MikeG View Post

Modern standards of safety =/= something can't go wrong.
So you are saying the standards are OK if a 23 story building goes up like a tinderbox and kills dozens of people, it was an unforeseeable event?
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Old 16th June 2017, 12:21 AM   #322
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Come on SG, I didn't say anything of the sort.

Here are some of the options:

-The design fell short of the current standards. Meeting those standards would have prevented the fire.

-The materials fell short of the current standards. Meeting those standards would have prevented the fire.

-The workmanship fell short of the current standards. Meeting those standards would have prevented the fire.

-The work met the current standards. The standards themselves are not good enough.

-Some combination of all of the above.
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Old 16th June 2017, 01:19 AM   #323
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Originally Posted by dudalb View Post
Re Smoke Alarms.
Problem with a lot of Smoke Alarms is that they are not so much smoke as heat alarms, which are too sensitive, and don't filter properly..They will go off if you open a oven or run a George Foreman style indoor electric Grill. (I can testify to this under oath through personal experience. To have those wired into a central fire alarm would be a nightmare of false alarms which might cause people to ignore a real one.
This is why you do not put such things in kitchens. Though I must admit mine has gone off when I am cooking despite it being in another room.

In high rise hotels where I stay there are smoke detectors in our room. They detect particles not heat. However they are not connected to a central point. They just make a loud noise. Cooking toast will sometimes set them off. One thing we are not warned not to do if they do go off is open the door to the corridor. There are smoke detectors in the corridor that ARE connected to a central point and they call the fire brigade and start the evacuation process. This happened to me once. We had to be evacuated just after I had gone to bed. Just because someone was cooking late at night and the room alarm went off.

Tip: If you are staying overnight in a high rise always have a set of clothing ready to put on. Then if the alarms go off no major decisions have to be made on clothing. Just put on these clothes and get out.

Last edited by rjh01; 16th June 2017 at 01:23 AM. Reason: Delete a sentence
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Old 16th June 2017, 01:34 AM   #324
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I suspect that there will be no simple answer to what went wrong here. It will be a mixture of the usual human failings, something not quite done right, something not finished, something someone forgot to do and so on.

I seriously doubt that the cladding did not have the required regulatory rating. I would suspect it is the regulations that are at fault in regards to its actual suitability. Building techniques, building materials and building practices change all the time and often in ways the regulations did not or could not have anticipated. As a "just so story" it could be in regards to the cladding that each individual layer had to reach a certain standard and all three layers did, but the regulations did not say that if used together the whole panel had to reach a certain standard and it was the interaction of the three layers that proved inadequate. There are many ways inadequate materials could have been used without anyone being at fault, or even should have known better.
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Old 16th June 2017, 02:21 AM   #325
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This video from the Australian Broadcasting Companies 7:30 report comments that you cannot tell the difference between flammable and non-flammable cladding once it is installed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6STWyPod9wI
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Old 16th June 2017, 02:51 AM   #326
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Originally Posted by Graham2001 View Post
This video from the Australian Broadcasting Companies 7:30 report comments that you cannot tell the difference between flammable and non-flammable cladding once it is installed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6STWyPod9wI

You mean, just by looking at it? To the casual observer? (And not while it's burning?)

Of course not.
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Old 16th June 2017, 02:58 AM   #327
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That was faulty organisation. There were no smoke alarms, or fire alarms, in the building! It was an accident waiting to happen. There doesn't seem to have been a trained council warden. The victims on the top floors were assured that they would be rescued by the fire brigade, instead of running for it when they had a chance, after being given a proper warning, and they then sheltered into their flats three hours after the fire started. The cladding should be fireproof whatever the building regulations say, or the sub-contractor lawyers say. I presume any cladding is fireproof on the space station. The RAF is no longer involved in the helicopter rescue of people sheltering on the top of buildings on fire.

I also have my doubts about installing gas into these buildings, particularly where elderly or confused people are involved, though I admit there don't seem to be any reports of accidents that I know about involving gas in these buildings.
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Old 16th June 2017, 03:07 AM   #328
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
.......There were no smoke alarms, or fire alarms, in the building!......
Not so.

Whilst there can be a discussion about whether their design was right (interlinking, communal areas, etc), each flat was fitted with smoke detectors, according to reports.

Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
......The cladding should be fireproof whatever the building regulations say..........
How do you propose enforcing building standards such as you propose here, if not through the Building Regs?
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Old 16th June 2017, 03:59 AM   #329
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Originally Posted by Architect View Post
There is no doubt that properly designed sprinkler, or even misting, systems are of huge benefit in reducing serious incidents. The problem, of course, is one of practicaility and cost.
The BBC is quoting £200k to £330k for retro-fitting sprinklers to this type of block, and it's been said there are around 4,000 of them. Obviously that would be in the region of £800m to £1,320m. Can't see that flying.
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Old 16th June 2017, 04:09 AM   #330
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Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
The BBC is quoting £200k to £330k for retro-fitting sprinklers to this type of block, and it's been said there are around 4,000 of them. Obviously that would be in the region of £800m to £1,320m. Can't see that flying.
I see the practicality issue as a bigger one than cost. I'm not a services engineer, but nonetheless I do know that inserting these into existing compartmentalised buildings is a huge practical difficulty. Service penetrations of fire-rated walls are a Fire Officer's nightmare. Firestopping every hole where every pipe passes through a wall..........nightmare! That's before we get to the difficulty of locating a tank and equipment in a building not designed to allow for such, and all the associated wiring. It's a simple sound-bite for a politician, but the practice is way, way more complicated than they might think.
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Old 16th June 2017, 04:35 AM   #331
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Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
Well, not so inadvertent. By pure coincidence we did the annual fire safety training at work yesterday, and of course were reminded of the advice that if you discover fire in a room, evacuating and closing the door is essential. Without it I still would have been horrified at the news that - apparently - the person whose flat the fire started in did not do so, because it's such a no-brainer.
Online version of what I read in the print edition yesterday:

Metro: Man whose flat started Grenfell blaze Ďpacked luggage before raising alarmí

"The man whose flat caught fire first in Grenfell Tower packed a bag of clothes before raising the alarm, it was claimed.

His pregnant neighbour Maryam Adam, said that he knocked on her door to warn her about the fire at 12.50am.

At that point he had already prepared to leave the building by packing possessions into a holdall, she claimed.

The fire brigade was called at 12.54am and arrived within six minutes.

Maryam, 41, described how she could see the fire in the manís kitchen through his open front door, saying it still appeared small at that time.

She was frightened enough to leave without any of her possessions, not even taking her phone."
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Old 16th June 2017, 04:45 AM   #332
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
I see the practicality issue as a bigger one than cost. I'm not a services engineer, but nonetheless I do know that inserting these into existing compartmentalised buildings is a huge practical difficulty. Service penetrations of fire-rated walls are a Fire Officer's nightmare. Firestopping every hole where every pipe passes through a wall..........nightmare! That's before we get to the difficulty of locating a tank and equipment in a building not designed to allow for such, and all the associated wiring. It's a simple sound-bite for a politician, but the practice is way, way more complicated than they might think.
I would also imagine that it would take years/decades to do all of them, even if it were possible. It would probably just hasten demolition for the older blocks, and then we get into the inevitable issues of displacement of residents because local replacement is not possible/desirable (cf. Elephant & Castle).

As an aside, it was a bit depressing to see the Mayor being heckled while visiting the site yesterday. There seem to be too many situations where people demand that officials visit, only to castigate them (often inappropriately) when they do. David Lammy isn't helping much, either.

Last edited by Information Analyst; 16th June 2017 at 04:48 AM.
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Old 16th June 2017, 05:11 AM   #333
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Those here (in Politics) castigating May for not meeting victims were only hoping that she would face the crowd's ire. There is no point inflaming things, in my view.

And yes, retro-fitting sprinklers would be a long, long job.

Just think, if the guy who's fridge caught fire had just picked up a fire extinguisher, things might have been very different.
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Old 16th June 2017, 06:13 AM   #334
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
Those here (in Politics) castigating May for not meeting victims were only hoping that she would face the crowd's ire. There is no point inflaming things, in my view.
She was damned either way. Visiting but not meeting the public was obviously the least worst option.

Quote:
Just think, if the guy who's fridge caught fire had just picked up a fire extinguisher, things might have been very different.
I'd never want to live in a block, but if I had to I'd certainly want, a) a fire extinguisher, and b) a smoke hood.

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Old 16th June 2017, 06:55 AM   #335
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Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
She was damned either way. Visiting but not meeting the public was obviously the least worst option.


I'd never want to live in a block, but if I had to I'd certainly want, a) a fire extinguisher, and b) a smoke hood.
c) Some sort of rapid-opening, base-jump chute.
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Old 16th June 2017, 07:18 AM   #336
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
c) Some sort of rapid-opening, base-jump chute.
Or a rope ladder, depending on the floor.
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Old 16th June 2017, 07:21 AM   #337
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
Those here (in Politics) castigating May for not meeting victims were only hoping that she would face the crowd's ire. There is no point inflaming things, in my view.

And yes, retro-fitting sprinklers would be a long, long job.

Just think, if the guy who's fridge caught fire had just picked up a fire extinguisher, things might have been very different.
Given the lack of other basic fire safety equipment, I think an assumption that there were functioning fire extinguishers available to the tenants is unsupportable.
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Old 16th June 2017, 07:38 AM   #338
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I have a fire extinguisher in my kitchen though I have never had to use it. There is also a smoke alarm in the kitchen not fitted by me, and another one in the hallway. In another house I did suffer from a chip pan fire, which used to attract publicity years ago, though the fire brigade were not called. Years ago the hedge in our back garden went up like an inferno after my father lit a bonfire there, but by the time the fire brigade arrived we had managed to extinguish it with loads of throwing water at it.
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Old 16th June 2017, 07:52 AM   #339
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My girlfriend uses our smoke alarms to time her cooking.
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Old 16th June 2017, 08:47 AM   #340
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Originally Posted by Newtons Bit View Post
Given the lack of other basic fire safety equipment, I think an assumption that there were functioning fire extinguishers available to the tenants is unsupportable.
What basic fire safety equipment are you thinking of?

On a building of this period, the English regulations would have requried a dry riser as a minimum, possibly in conjunction with fire reels (although this tended to be discontinued due to problems).

Fire doors would have been mandatory, although not necessarily to modern standards (I'm assuming FD30 rather than FS30 or FS60 on escape routes).

Individual dwelling smoke and fire alarm systems, probably not centrally paged, would have been expected together with an overarching system covering public areas complete with callpoints and sounder.

As far as I know, there hasn't been an explanation as to what was in-situ immediately prior to the fire, but I've not followed it clsoely today and as far as I can see the Building Regulations Approval drawings aren't available online as a matter of course in the English system.
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Old 16th June 2017, 08:48 AM   #341
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Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
Or a rope ladder, depending on the floor.
Harder to use than people think, little use if frame break-out occurs adjacent, useless for anything other than low-rise buildings.
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Old 16th June 2017, 08:50 AM   #342
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
Come on SG, I didn't say anything of the sort.

Here are some of the options:

-The design fell short of the current standards. Meeting those standards would have prevented the fire.

-The materials fell short of the current standards. Meeting those standards would have prevented the fire.

-The workmanship fell short of the current standards. Meeting those standards would have prevented the fire.

-The work met the current standards. The standards themselves are not good enough.

-Some combination of all of the above.
Thank you for the clarification.
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Old 16th June 2017, 08:51 AM   #343
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
I see the practicality issue as a bigger one than cost. I'm not a services engineer, but nonetheless I do know that inserting these into existing compartmentalised buildings is a huge practical difficulty. Service penetrations of fire-rated walls are a Fire Officer's nightmare. Firestopping every hole where every pipe passes through a wall..........nightmare! That's before we get to the difficulty of locating a tank and equipment in a building not designed to allow for such, and all the associated wiring. It's a simple sound-bite for a politician, but the practice is way, way more complicated than they might think.
It is far from straightforward.

As mains supplied systems are not encouraged in the UK, especially areas where water pressure might be doubtful, there are issues around storage of significant supplies. Then, as you say, there are issues around routing of pipework within existing concrete framed and well compartmentalised buildings, together with consequent fire plugging.

It's going to be expensive. Very, very expensive.

Of course one might suggest that the cost in human lives is far more, a position I understand, but in practice I too think it will just hasten the end of these towers.

Glasgow is already quite far through it's programme of demolition, so that day may not be as far off as people think.
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Old 16th June 2017, 08:52 AM   #344
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Originally Posted by Architect View Post
Harder to use than people think, little use if frame break-out occurs adjacent, useless for anything other than low-rise buildings.
That's why I said "depending on floor," and I have used one, albeit a long time ago.

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Old 16th June 2017, 08:53 AM   #345
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
That was faulty organisation. There were no smoke alarms, or fire alarms, in the building! It was an accident waiting to happen. There doesn't seem to have been a trained council warden. The victims on the top floors were assured that they would be rescued by the fire brigade, instead of running for it when they had a chance, after being given a proper warning, and they then sheltered into their flats three hours after the fire started. The cladding should be fireproof whatever the building regulations say, or the sub-contractor lawyers say. I presume any cladding is fireproof on the space station. The RAF is no longer involved in the helicopter rescue of people sheltering on the top of buildings on fire.

I also have my doubts about installing gas into these buildings, particularly where elderly or confused people are involved, though I admit there don't seem to be any reports of accidents that I know about involving gas in these buildings.
Sorry, Henri, this is just bollocks.
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Old 16th June 2017, 08:54 AM   #346
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Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
That's why I said "depending on floor."
Let me be specific. They're useless for anything other than two storey buildings, at which point you're better waiting for the Fire Brigade ladders/turntable anyway, and henc eof little assistance to the current discussion.

It would surprise you how often some tumshie of a client with a difficult existing building suggests it as a genuine solution
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Old 16th June 2017, 09:34 AM   #347
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I remember (in 1985) staying in a student room in the top floor of a fairly old (possibly Edwardian) terraced house in Exeter. It was probably the third floor. The house was a nice one in a nice leafy area and the owners just let out a couple of attic rooms to students. Because of this they had obviously had to have a fire risk assessment done, and of course the single steep staircase must have been noted as a problem.

There was some sort of webbing sling arrangement with a reel of (presumably) webbing rope secured in the bay of the dormer window. I'm not sure I'd have been all that keen to use it, but if there had been a fire I'm sure I'd have given it the old college try. Better than nothing anyway, and nothing is what the other houses in the street which weren't letting rooms out to students would have had.
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Old 16th June 2017, 09:35 AM   #348
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
c) Some sort of rapid-opening, base-jump chute.
You're in luck:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencete...emergency.html
http://novatechgadgets.com/sa-hope.html

There's also these:
https://skysaver.com/
http://newatlas.com/rescue-reel-emergency-escape/11887/
http://www.lifedescent.com.au/
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Old 16th June 2017, 09:40 AM   #349
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Originally Posted by Architect View Post
Harder to use than people think, little use if frame break-out occurs adjacent, useless for anything other than low-rise buildings.
Quote:
Let me be specific. They're useless for anything other than two storey buildings, at which point you're better waiting for the Fire Brigade ladders/turntable anyway, and henc eof little assistance to the current discussion.
Wait, is this serious? Rope ladders are actually something that can be used for fire safety? I mean beyond simple one and two family residences and then only as an aftermarket accessory... I'm having a really hard time telling when you guys are just pulling my leg...
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Old 16th June 2017, 09:48 AM   #350
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Oh. Dear.

BBC News: London fire - Fire protesters storm town hall

"Protesters demanding help for those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire have stormed Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall with a list of demands.

Between 50 and 60 people broke off from a protest outside to go into the council building.

One member of the public said people made homeless needed help "right now".

Theresa May, who visited victims in hospital earlier, announced a £5m fund to pay for emergency supplies, food, clothes and other costs."
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Old 16th June 2017, 10:04 AM   #351
Henri McPhee
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Originally Posted by Architect View Post
Sorry, Henri, this is just bollocks.
I don't think that what I have said about the matter is bollocks. It looks to me as though there have been cuts and closures, and cuts to public spending, and privatisation, where there doesn't seem to have been a council warden, who was probably made redundant. A council warden would know the tenants intimately, and their phone numbers, and their next of kin, after doing regular interviews with them. There is no evidence that the fire brigade knew the phone numbers of the tenants on the top floors. They were only able to shout to them from below. It also seems that the cladding used does not meet building and fireproof regulations which apply in other countries. This is not Bangladesh.

This is what the Daily Mail has said about the matter:

Quote:
Fire alarms didn't go off, sprinklers failed and residents were told to 'stay put' inside their flats, survivors of the inferno in the 'third world' tower block said today.
Twelve have been confirmed dead and more are missing following the fire at Grenfell Tower in north Kensington overnight, which left a further 50 people in hospital.
Survivors have described how the building's fire alarms were not working at all - and sprinklers also failed.**
And it has emerged that the block's residents were told to 'stay put' in their flats in case of the fires, and the only stairwell used in the evacuation may have been blocked.
Residents have said they were only alerted to the fire by neighbours banging on doors or phone calls from people living in the area who saw the tower was alight.
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Old 16th June 2017, 10:14 AM   #352
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Originally Posted by Henri McPhee View Post
I don't think that what I have said about the matter is bollocks. It looks to me as though there have been cuts and closures, and cuts to public spending, and privatisation, where there doesn't seem to have been a council warden, who was probably made redundant. A council warden would know the tenants intimately, and their phone numbers, and their next of kin, after doing regular interviews with them. There is no evidence that the fire brigade knew the phone numbers of the tenants on the top floors. They were only able to shout to them from below. It also seems that the cladding used does not meet building and fireproof regulations which apply in other countries. This is not Bangladesh.

This is what the Daily Mail has said about the matter:

Do you have a reliable source?
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Old 16th June 2017, 10:16 AM   #353
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Originally Posted by fagin View Post
My girlfriend uses our smoke alarms to time her cooking.
If my girlfriend did that, I would either dump her or volunteer to take over the cooking, depending on whether other factors made it worth taking over the cooking. Generally, when the smoke alarm goes off, it's a bit late for the food to be any good.
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Old 16th June 2017, 10:20 AM   #354
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Originally Posted by Architect View Post
Harder to use than people think, little use if frame break-out occurs adjacent, useless for anything other than low-rise buildings.
I have used a rope ladder (not for fire escape) and you are right. You need to be in decent shape to use one. It takes a bit of strength and good balance. They are definitely not suitable for elderly, disabled or overweight people.
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Old 16th June 2017, 11:12 AM   #355
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
<snip> As a "just so story" it could be in regards to the cladding that each individual layer had to reach a certain standard and all three layers did, but the regulations did not say that if used together the whole panel had to reach a certain standard and it was the interaction of the three layers that proved inadequate. There are many ways inadequate materials could have been used without anyone being at fault, or even should have known better.
Darat, as I said in an earlier post, I was involved in the develolpment of a test procedure, and this was for complete cladding systems, not testing the individual components separately.

I have been effectively out of the industry now for eleven years, but I think this test is still in use. On Tuesday on Radio4 there was a programme (The curious cases of Rutherford and Fry) where Hannah Fry attended one of these tests at BRE. From what I could tell it was the same test I was involved in developing.

For information this test has a burning timber crib 1.5m by 1m by 1m simulating the flames exiting from a window, to ensure that the fire does not spread up the facade/cladding system (either on the face or within the system) to allow fire pentration of window openings sbove the compartment of origin.

Dave Smit

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Old 16th June 2017, 11:32 AM   #356
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I was just using it as a scenario to demonstrate how regulations alone might not stop someone in good faith using a particular material which met its regulatory requirements but then is used in such a way that wasn't anticipated and has tragic consequences. I wasn't stating the just so story was the case here.
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Old 16th June 2017, 12:14 PM   #357
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Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
She was damned either way. Visiting but not meeting the public was obviously the least worst option.


I'd never want to live in a block, but if I had to I'd certainly want, a) a fire extinguisher, and b) a smoke hood.
Having lived on the thirteenth floor of a tower block, I agree with b). I guess some people were overcome with smoke when trying to escape. When I lived there I had 100m of rope a harness and descendeur, but then I do rock climbing. If I had to live there again I would invest in a smoke hood.
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Old 16th June 2017, 01:29 PM   #358
dudalb
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Originally Posted by Information Analyst View Post
Oh. Dear.

BBC News: London fire - Fire protesters storm town hall

"Protesters demanding help for those affected by the Grenfell Tower fire have stormed Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall with a list of demands.

Between 50 and 60 people broke off from a protest outside to go into the council building.

One member of the public said people made homeless needed help "right now".

Theresa May, who visited victims in hospital earlier, announced a £5m fund to pay for emergency supplies, food, clothes and other costs."

And the storming of this hall accomplished what,except make a few demonstrators feel like they had just stormed the Bastille or the Winter Palace?
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Old 16th June 2017, 01:34 PM   #359
William Parcher
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Originally Posted by 3point14 View Post
Do you have a reliable source?
Yeah, because a reliable source might instead tell us that the fire alarms did work and that the fire sprinklers did work.
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Old 16th June 2017, 01:47 PM   #360
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