In my last post I introduced a Certificate of Approval, issued in 2012 by Exova, trading as Warrington Certification, for a combustible FR grade ACM panel. According to the government’s post-Grenfell interpretation of Approved Document B2, 12.7, this certificate should not have been issued, since the panels fail to meet the limited combustibility requirement of that paragraph.
The certificate bore on every page the signature of Sir Ken Knight, who is Chair of the Grenfell Tower Expert Panel. This body claimed on 30 June 2017 that the Buildings Regulation guidance requires the ACM core to be of limited combustibility. The text of the Approved Document guidance on cladding has remained unchanged since 2007. It follows that the Expert Panel must be of the view that the certificate was issued in error.
Continue reading Grenfell Tower: Exova’s approval in 2012 of the use of combustible ACM for high rise cladding
Since 18 June 2017, just four days after the Grenfell Tower fire, the Government has been claiming that its Approved Document guidance does not permit the use of combustible ACM cladding on high rise buildings. On 27 June the Communities Secretary Sajid Javid appointed an ‘independent expert advisory panel’ to advise the government on what immediate safety measures needed to be taken to avert the risk of a further tragedy. Under its Terms of Reference, the regulations concerning fire safety and
the use of specific materials
were within the scope of the expert panel’s work:
The Chair of the panel, which appears still to be in operation, is Sir Ken Knight, former London Fire Commissioner and former Government Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser.
Continue reading Grenfell Tower: time to put an end to the charade
On 5 September 2017, the Government published data for the number of high rise residential buildings in England (as of 31 August) with various types of ACM cladding, and with various types of insulation:
The number of buildings accounted for in this table is:
81 + 107 + 8 + 21 + 12 = 229.
The total number of buildings in England with ACM cladding (including those stripped post-Grenfell) is given in paragraph 5 (and also in paragraph 8):
Since 173 + 16 + 89 = 278, it is clear that 278 is the number of buildings as well as the number of samples.
Continue reading Grenfell Tower: how many high rise buildings are there in England with PE ACM cladding and phenolic insulation? (part 1)
I continue with my examination of the three alternative rationales offered by the DCLG for their claim that the core of ACM panels is covered by paragraph 12.7 of Approved Document B2:
1. The ACM core is an insulation material or product;
2. The ACM core is a filler material;
3. All elements of the cladding system are covered, and so the ACM core is covered.
I am taking the third of these in second place, as it is less technical than the ‘filler material’ rationale, and can be refuted all the more easily. The first I dealt with summarily in my last post, demonstrating it I believe to be completely untenable.
Continue reading Grenfell Tower: does the Approved Document guidance require all elements of a high rise cladding system to be of limited combustibility?
In my first post on the Grenfell Tower disaster I recalled my father’s distress while serving as an expert witness in the court case that followed the 1994 Ramsgate Walkway collapse, in which six people died and others were seriously injured. He told me that the parties involved were in general interested neither in truth nor in preventing future failures and loss of life, but only in the avoidance of liability for themselves.
In this post I explain why I believe that the Government bears the main responsibility for the fire. That responsibility is shared between successive administrations from around the year 2000 onwards. If the pattern of behaviour that my father observed is a general one, then we might expect the present Government to try to deny culpability, and the Opposition to avoid drawing attention to the failures of past Labour Governments. In following posts, I will demonstrate that the Government is indeed currently engaged in just such an attempt to evade its responsibility for what is a national tragedy. In brief, it is rewriting history by claiming that the cladding panels were installed illegally on Grenfell Tower, when in reality they were permitted under the official guidance.
Continue reading Grenfell Tower: the Government’s responsibility for the fire