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Debates Forum

  1. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    16 Jun '17 22:01
    2009 - Lakanal House tower block catches fire killing 6 people. The local authority is prosecuted for lapses in fire safety. A review is promised by the Labour government after pressure from the Fire Protection Association (FPA).

    2010 - Building Regulations Act is published, including provisions for fire safety. Conservatives win election, a review is promised by the new government after more pressure from the FPA and warnings that the BR act does not go far enough.

    2012 David Cameron vows to get rid of the Health and Safety Culture in Britain. Regulations cripple business, he says.

    2013 - Boris Johnson overrules the ruling body of the London Fire Brigade and uses legal action to inflict £29m in cuts. Closing 10 fire stations, cutting firefighters by 552, losing 14 fire engines and cutting minimum staffing levels from 5 to 4. By the time he steps down as Mayor of London he inflicts a further £100m in cuts to £130m total and the loss of 7000 firefighters. Fire prevention measures carried out by the service drop by over 25%. When challenged by a committee on fire safety on how cutting the fire service would not increase deaths, Boris replies "get stuffed".

    2013 - All Party Parliamentary Group on Fire Safety and Rescue produces a report strongly recommending installation of fire suppression systems and sprinklers in 4000 tower blocks throughout Britain.

    The Grenfell residents action group publishes a report warning that their landlord is putting their safety at risk by restricting the access ways to their car park. They are ignored by their landlord.

    2013 - 2016 Conservative housing ministers sit on All Party report without action, promising they are "looking at it", including housing minister Gavin Barwell.

    2016 - Conservatives vote against a Labour motion to make sure all landlords and housing associations ensure residences are fit for human occupation, including provisions for fire safety. The motion is denied by 312 votes to 219. 72 of the MP's voting against are landlords. The

    Grenfell residents action group publish a report warning people will die in a fire before the landlord takes notice of their poor fire safety provisions. They are ignored by their landlord.

    2017 - Ex housing minister Gavin Barwell becomes Prime Minister Theresa May's chief of staff. He never actions the All Party Parliamentary report recommendations.

    Grenfell Tower is reduced to rubble with the deaths of at least 17 residents, but probably more than 100 and perhaps many more than that, as a fire spreads through the building in 4 minutes. It has no fire suppression system or sprinklers. The stairwell is not adequate for a full building evacuation. The emergency lighting is missing from half of the floors. The fire service struggle to reach the building due to previous car park modifications causing access issues as warned by the resident action group in 2013.
  2. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    16 Jun '17 22:08
    Compare the failure by this Tory government to act on building regulations with an earlier case, the partial collapse of Ronan Point which resulted in new building regulations to ensure blocks built after 1971 could not collapse.

    "Had Ronan Point not happened, Grenfell Tower would have collapsed by now. Whilst there can be no guarantee than it won’t collapse, its unlikely.

    "The building will have been built to be more robust, the building Regulations came into force in 1971 and any building in the design/planning stage has to comply.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/14/grenfell-tower-would-have-collapsed-built-four-years-earlier/
  3. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    16 Jun '17 22:36 / 1 edit
    My point was that the building regulations were changed relatively soon after the Ronan Point collapse, and the new regulations were effective - buildings erected since 1971 are unlikely to collapse. I wished to infer from this that the fire at Lakanal House in 2009 should have resulted in new regulations - say by 2012 - that would have prevented the specific, highly dangerous alterations in Grenfell Tower. which were only done recently. The similarities between the Lakanal and Grenfell fires are disturbing and the failure to learn lessons all the more disgraceful. Since we know it can be done, and the Ronan Point case is an example of how it can be done, it follows that it should have been done. The responsibility rests with the relevant ministers in the interval, and that certainly is the case for Gavin Barwell. Those who point to the Tory Government's direct responsibility are not being unreasonable - they are spot on. The Tories hate regulations and think they should be thrown away - to benefit business interests. I disagree - we need better regulations precisely to stop business making profits over our bodies.

    An inquest into the deaths at Lakanal House "found the fire spread unexpectedly fast, both laterally and vertically, trapping people in their homes, with the exterior cladding panels burning through in just four and a half minutes".[11] As in the case of the Grenfell Tower fire eight years later, "the official advice was for people to remain in their homes in the event of a blaze. The inquest concluded that years of botched renovations had removed fire-stopping material between flats and communal corridors, allowing a blaze to spread, and that the problem was not picked up in safety inspections carried out by Southwark council."

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lakanal_House_fire
  4. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    16 Jun '17 23:08
    http://www.lbc.co.uk/news/london/west/kensington-chelsea/government-sat-on-tower-fire-report-four-years/

    4,000 tower blocks at risk. Let's see the governemnt take responsibility.
  5. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    17 Jun '17 00:17
    Frankfurt’s fire chief, Reinhard Ries, said he was appalled at the fire at Grenfell Tower and said tighter fire-safety rules for tower blocks in Germany meant that a similar incident could not happen there. US building codes also restrict the use of metal-composite panels without flame-retardant cores on buildings above 15 metres.

    Germany is deemed to have some of the most stringent fire regulations in the world. High-rise tower blocks are common, particularly in former communist parts of the country, where they dominated new-build housing for decades. In Berlin and elsewhere, the austere blocks have become fashionable places to live, in part because of a housing shortage and the high cost of accommodation.

    Berlin’s fire chief, Wilfried Gräfling, said the London fire made it clear that fire regulations should be tightened further with only mineral materials used in cladding panels. “We will try to persuade lawmakers that flammable material should no longer be allowed to be used as an insulant,” he told Der Spiegel. “Only mineral material that can’t burn, ensuring that it’s no longer possible for a fire to spread via the cladding,.”

    The speed at which the fire spread at Grenfell Tower has led to intense speculation that external cladding panels made from aluminium sheets with a flammable polyethylene core may have fuelled the fire that tore through the block in the early hours of Wednesday morning. ...

    In the UK there are no regulations requiring the use of fire-retardant material in cladding used on the exterior of tower blocks and schools. But the Fire Protection Association (FPA), an industry body, has been pushing for years for the government to make it a statutory requirement for local authorities and companies to use only fire-retardant material. Jim Glocking, technical director of the FPA, said it had “lobbied long and hard” for building regulations on the issue to be tightened, but nothing had happened.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jun/16/manufacturer-of-cladding-on-grenfell-tower-identified-as-omnis-exteriors
  6. Standard member shavixmir
    Guppy poo
    17 Jun '17 06:22
    Well put!
  7. Subscriber Wajoma
    Die Cheeseburger
    17 Jun '17 11:05
    Originally posted by finnegan
    2009 - Lakanal House tower block catches fire killing 6 people. The local authority is prosecuted for lapses in fire safety. A review is promised by the Labour government after pressure from the Fire Protection Association (FPA).

    2010 - Building Regulations Act is published, including provisions for fire safety. Conservatives win election, a review is pr ...[text shortened]... ous car park modifications causing access issues as warned by the resident action group in 2013.
    Aww, is no one playing?

    " ...cutting minimum staffing levels from 5 to 4."

    What, exactly, is wrong with 4 man crews?
  8. 17 Jun '17 20:20
    Many Brexit supporters have earlier expressed their happiness that the post-Brexit UK
    will be free to jettison EU safety regulations, including those pertaining to fire.
  9. 17 Jun '17 22:11
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    Many Brexit supporters have earlier expressed their happiness that the post-Brexit UK
    will be free to jettison EU safety regulations, including those pertaining to fire.
    ERM. Could D64 provide (presumably) multiple links to this 'many'??
  10. 17 Jun '17 23:44
    Originally posted by Blood On The Tracks
    ERM. Could D64 provide (presumably) multiple links to this 'many'??
    Here's one from a pro-Brexit hard right-wing British newspaper:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/29/brexit-lifetime-opportunity-sweep-away-red-tape-free-britains/

    "Brexit is a once in a lifetime opportunity to sweep away red tape and free Britain's economy"
    --Michael Fabricant
  11. Subscriber Wajoma
    Die Cheeseburger
    17 Jun '17 23:52
    Originally posted by Duchess64
    Here's one from a pro-Brexit hard right-wing British newspaper:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/03/29/brexit-lifetime-opportunity-sweep-away-red-tape-free-britains/

    "Brexit is a once in a lifetime opportunity to sweep away red tape and free Britain's economy"
    --Michael Fabricant
    So D64, is all red tape good?
  12. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    18 Jun '17 00:10 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by Wajoma
    Aww, is no one playing?

    " ...cutting minimum staffing levels from 5 to 4."

    What, exactly, is wrong with 4 man crews?
    Minimum crews of 4 and the general huge reduction in mumbers of firemen is a problem because of the nature of the work. There are of course many days when staff are ticking along and relaxed but it is when called to a serious fire that the numbers suddenly matter critically.

    At Grenfell Tower this week, the firemen ended up working 12 hour shifts in horrific conditions, quite apart from the traumatic nature of the event. Before the cuts, it was normal practice to restrict anyone to 4 hours at a time, because it is frankly dangerous and harmful to ask them to work longer in a serious incident. People need to use more imagination to understand why this is the case. With the tower block in flames, there were up to 100 firemen inside the building, carrying out search and rescue work, and they continued to work inside the building for as long as humanly possible. From the outside, this seemd crazy - and they were, it turns out, operating outside their safety procedures. Again, they did so because they were listening to the screams of trapped tenants and they were as upset by that as any observors. Some of the things they had to deal with were unspeakable and I have no plans to describe what I have heard.

    After a fire with fatalities, it is normal to find at least a number of the crew too traumatised to return to work for days, sometimes weeks. Sickness rates across the service are high and the reasons are evident from the nature of their work. Again, this means that the service needs to operate with high paper staffing levels.

    London does indeed still have a fine service but it is achieving this by abusing the workers who deliver the service. Those who think public workers can be treated in this way are wicked.
  13. Subscriber Wajoma
    Die Cheeseburger
    18 Jun '17 00:22
    Originally posted by finnegan
    Minimum crews of 4 and the general huge reduction in mumbers of firemen is a problem because of the nature of the work. There are of course many days when staff are ticking along and relaxed but it is when called to a serious fire that the numbers suddenly matter critically.

    At Grenfell Tower this week, the firemen ended up working 12 hour shifts in h ...[text shortened]... who deliver the service. Those who think public workers can be treated in this way are wicked.
    You didn't answer the question.

    What is wrong with 4 man crews?

    You threw it in there to fluff out your post, but can you say specifically what is wrong.

    You've again tried to fluff out your post, why is it better to make 5 men work a 12 hour shift in "horrific conditions" than it is for 4 men to work a 12 hour shift in "horrific conditions"? What's the difference? Can a 4 man fire crew work as effectively as a 5 man crew. If not why not? Name some specific scenarios and the frequency of these scenarios occurring.

    Or retract.
  14. Standard member finnegan
    GENS UNA SUMUS
    18 Jun '17 00:28
    Originally posted by Wajoma
    You didn't answer the question.

    What is wrong with 4 man crews?

    You threw it in there to fluff out your post, but can you say specifically what is wrong.

    You've again tried to fluff out your post, why is it better to make 5 men work a 12 hour shift in "horrific conditions" than it is for 4 men to work a 12 hour shift in "horrific conditions"? What ...[text shortened]... ot? Name some specific scenarios and the frequency of these scenarios occurring.

    Or retract.
    What is wrong is that 4 is fewer than 5. The job is labour intensive. It needs people and without a full crew the workers are being asked to take more risks.

    Accountants should not make such decisions. This is not lean engineering.
  15. Subscriber Wajoma
    Die Cheeseburger
    18 Jun '17 00:32 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by finnegan
    What is wrong is that 4 is fewer than 5. The job is labour intensive. It needs people and without a full crew the workers are being asked to take more risks.

    Accountants should not make such decisions. This is not lean engineering.
    Haha, you don't know do you.

    Why isn't 4 a full crew?

    No one is asked to take risks, the fire service is covered by the same OHS as everyone else. Keep trying.

    Do you think they should have 10 man crews?

    Edit: Alright you've made a statement, can you justify it. How are 4 men asked to take more risks? Be specific.