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Reclad Contributed to Spread of Fire

Then you have the cigarette butt flippers. Who discard their spent cigarettes over their balconies, maybe unto balconies below, causing fires.

fort-york-fire.jpg


When I lived in a condo, I had a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. Didn't think I would need another fire extinguisher on the balcony!

Toronto Fire Services warns of spike in balcony fires
There's already been more in 2017 than in all of last year.
Metro, May Warren, 14 June 2017
 
Looks like a cheap and disrespectful reclad contributed to today's London tower tragedy:

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/37951...idents-towel-door-stay-fire-trap-third-world/

Apparently this cladding material (aluminum composite cladding) was the cause of other fires as well:

http://www.news.com.au/world/europe...n/news-story/6de8652286b765f369e779be3062a45f

Time to get this material temporarily banned until it gets re-engineered with more fire-retardant materials.

Another very good reason to move away from having balconies.

AoD

IMO balconies are hardly a problem, inconsiderate smokers who can't be arsed not to toss their smouldering cigarettes off a balcony are.

Should we ban operable windows because smokers might toss cigarettes out of them as well?
 
IMO balconies are hardly a problem, inconsiderate smokers who can't be arsed not to toss their smouldering cigarettes off a balcony are.
Should we ban operable windows because smokers might toss cigarettes out of them as well?

Of course the ultimate cause is smokers - but balconies also contributed to the problem - the butts need something to land on to start a fire, and guess what - people tend to put things that burns in it. It's a design aspect that increases risk.

AoD
 
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This is a tricky problem because it's difficult to figure out who are the culprits and yet the consequences are so much more severe.

I think this isn't a design problem- it's a behavioral one that has arisen as the our culture shifts away from personal responsibility towards collectivized responsibility.


Outside of actually locating the suspects (difficult and expensive), and eliminating balconies (not likely)- maybe the key is awareness (emphasizing the lengthy tediousness of the evacuation process) so that smokers will be disincentized not to litter, and ensuring that the balconies themselves are completely fireproofed.

Another solution would be to lay the responsibilities of creating less flammable butts to the cigarette industry or as city-wide health policy, promote a shift away from cigarettes to towards other electronic cigarettes.
 
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This is a tricky problem because it's difficult to figure out who are the culprits and yet the consequences are so much more severe.

I think this isn't a design problem- it's a behavioral one that has arisen as the our culture shifts away from personal responsibility towards collectivized responsibility.

Outside of actually locating the suspects (difficult and expensive), and eliminating balconies (not likely)- maybe the key is awareness (emphasizing the lengthy tediousness of the evacuation process) so that smokers will be disincentized not to litter, and ensuring that the balconies themselves are completely fireproofed.

Another solution would be to lay the responsibilities of creating less flammable butts to the cigarette industry or as city-wide health policy, promote a shift away from cigarettes to towards other electronic cigarettes.

Eliminating balconies is never a solution per se (you can't really ban it, plus you already have a large stock of buildings with them) - but it is something that builders and buyers may want to factor in their calculus - risk, reward, alternatives (Juliette balconies).

AoD
 
Burned London highrise used cheaper cladding, rather than ‘fire resistant’ option: Report

The cladding used to cover Grenfell Tower is about $3.40 cheaper per square meter than a ‘fire resistant’ alternative, the Guardian reported Friday. The tower’s cladding has become the focus of the questioning into what caused the fire to dramatically sweep up the building’s sides.

See link.

For the fiscal conservatives, money is more important than safety. That's one reason why TCHC could be facing the same problem with their buildings. They continue want to save money instead of saving lives.
 
TCHC's problem is a plain lack of money. The fact that they're providing thousands of units at under-market prices and then expected to break even without any additional funding is untenable. Hence chronic under-maintenance and the shuttering of deteriorated units.

I probably see a fire or two at their uninhabitable units (via squatters, arson) in the future.
 
TCHC's problem is a plain lack of money. The fact that they're providing thousands of units at under-market prices and then expected to break even without any additional funding is untenable. Hence chronic under-maintenance and the shuttering of deteriorated units.

I probably see a fire or two at their uninhabitable units (via squatters, arson) in the future.
...or curious children playing with fire after a landlord ignited their curiosity, just like in the Bronx (the real reason is insurance fraud, with the curious children being collateral)
 
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...or curious children playing with fire after a landlord ignited their curiosity, just like in the Bronx (the real reason is insurance fraud, with the curious children being collateral)

They already have issues with fire - accidents exacerbated with hoarding and mental health. The point here is not that - but how the use of non-fire rated materials lead to disasters that should never had happened.

AoD
 
Grenfell tower used polyisocyanurate foam insulation behind polyethylene core aluminum panels. A number of tower blocks in the U.K. Have been identified with the same arrangement, and they are now in the process of evacuating tenants and removing the cladding.
 
Grenfell tower used polyisocyanurate foam insulation behind polyethylene core aluminum panels. A number of tower blocks in the U.K. Have been identified with the same arrangement, and they are now in the process of evacuating tenants and removing the cladding.
I'm late to this string, but have been posting to UK ones. The foam materials being discussed are actually of questionable value for insulating purposes, as well as being serious fire hazards. Even when fire retarded, they emit even more toxic gas than the non-retarded forms. It *is* (various isocyanurates, chloride, flouride, etc) approved for roofing use in Canada, albeit sandwiched with...wait for it...flammable bitumen. But to use for insulation, the R factor decreases rapidly when approaching freezing point and below. Mineral and glass wool is still the insulation of choice in many/most cases. There's also the problem of off-gassing even if not combusting. In combination with filament type batting (rockwool, fibreglass, etc) it is preferable from an anti-combustion standpoint, but the filaments can also 'wick' the melted hydrocarbons and also promote combustion.

I've found no better source (even on the day after the tragedy, they had excellent stories and reference) than https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk It is subscription only, but there are known ways of how to find stories on Google.

Edit to Add: Some stories are attainable by clicking on the headlines posted at the opening page, link above.

This is a sub-story that's a bit of a buzz already with the architects here I know in TO:
[...]
3. Could the declining role of architects have played a part in this tragedy?

The answer to this will of course depend on the exact cause of the fire and thus on the outcomes of the public inquiry. However, there is a suspicion that there is no longer a single competent professional such as an architect or engineer who has responsibility for specifying materials and – alongside the building control and fire officers – ensuring such materials, or a safe and legal alternative, are used and correctly installed.

Instead, the argument goes, responsibility for risk has been spread around to the point where no-one knows where responsibility lies. In a recent opinion piece for The Guardian in response to the Grenfell Tower fire, architect Deon Lombard – a former project director at tp bennett who has worked on major refurbishment projects and on residential towers – wrote: ‘In the past, architects have specified construction materials and have then been in a position to ensure that the specified materials were used. This is increasingly not the case as performance specifications enable alternative materials to be used, often selected by the developer, contractor or subcontractors.

‘With architects now seldom having the authority to insist on specific products being used, there is a tendency to go for cheaper materials, without necessarily understanding the impact or knock-on effect.’

RIBA Council member George Oldham – Newcastle upon Tyne’s city architect from 1979 till 1990 – told the AJ that ‘something has been lost’ in the move away from filling such positions, pointing out that his role had involved a wide range of responsibilities, including fire risk and maintenance of buildings.

He said: ‘There has been a shift from public sector control of the design and building process to something which is more or less a free-for-all.’

Statement from Studio E
We are deeply shocked and distressed over news of the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower.

Our thoughts are with those that have been affected by this tragic incident, together with all of their relatives and friends.

Given the ongoing nature of the incident it would be inappropriate for us to comment or speculate further at this stage. We will be available to assist the relevant authorities as and when we are required. [...]
Access this title from the opening page, and it's non-subscription:
News analysis: Five questions about Grenfell Tower that must be answered
Here's the direct url :
https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk...locktitle=in-the-LATEST-ISSUE&contentID=18097
 
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