Friday, June 16

Grenfell Tower Tragedy: Guess how much fireproof cladding would have cost

"Panel with the plastic core is £22 sq m - £2 cheaper than fire-resistant version"

The Grenfell Tower fire is taking on the overtones of the 2010 BP Gulf oil spill scandal. PM Theresa May is also under fire for not meeting with victims of the fire during her tour of the fire site.....  
 The cladding used on Grenfell Tower may have exacerbated the fire, it has been claimed.
Rainscreen cladding, which was added during the block's refurbishment, can act as a 'chimney' for fires because of its ventilated cavities.
Many have speculated as to whether this could have made the fire worse, and led to it spreading quickly and trapping residents.

Chartered surveyor and fire expert Arnold Tarling, from Hindwoods, said that the process can create a 25mm-30mm cavity between the cladding and the insulation.
'It produces a wind tunnel and also traps any burning material between the rain cladding and the building.
'So had it been insulated per se, the insulation could fall off and fall away from the building, but this is all contained inside.'
He said not all insulation used in the process is the more expensive non-flammable type
'So basically you have got a cavity with a fire spreading behind it.'

The above quotes are from a Daily Mail report examining the cladding issue and other issues related to the fire; below I'm only featuring a part of the report. There were contributing factors to the fire; e.g., there are anecdotal reports that the building's central fire alarm didn't go off. But at this early stage is does look as if the cladding used on the building acted as a fire accelerant. 

As to the current estimate of the death toll -- between 65-100, depending on the news source. But the gutted building is so unsafe it's been said it will take months to recover all the bodies. The structure first has to be shored up somehow.       

Daily Mail
Fireproof cladding that would have prevented Grenfell Tower tragedy 'would have cost just £5,000 extra' - and the cheap version that WAS used is BANNED in America
  • Hundreds of aluminium Reynobond panels were installed on Grenfell Tower
  • Three panel types - one with flammable plastic core and two are fire-resistant
  • Grenfell contractors reportedly chose the cheaper version with the plastic core 
  • Panel with the plastic core is £22 sq m - £2 cheaper than fire-resistant version 
By Amie Gordon For Mailonline
PUBLISHED: 19:41 EDT, 15 June 2017 | UPDATED: 04:38 EDT, 16 June 2017

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.

Hundreds of Reynobond aluminium coated panels - which are banned in the US over fire safety fears - were fitted to the outside of the London high-rise last year.

The building was covered in panels with a plastic core costing £22 per square metre - just £2 cheaper than the fire-resistant version.

Made by a firm of the same name, Reynobond panels come in three types – one with a flammable plastic core and two with fire-resistant centres. 

It is thought contractors chose the cheaper plastic type for the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower.

A salesman for US-based Reynobond told The Times that the version used on Grenfell, which has a polythene centre and is referred to as 'PE', was banned in American buildings taller than 40ft over fire safety reasons.

'It's because of the fire and smoke spread,' he said. 'The FR (variant) is fire-resistant. The PE is just plastic.'

The PE version is used for small commercial buildings and petrol stations, he added, rather than tower blocks or hospitals.

The panel with the plastic core sells for £22 per square metre – just £2 cheaper than the fire-resistant version.

Rough calculations suggest panels covered 2,000 square metres of Grenfell Tower, meaning contractors could have used the fire-resistant type for less than £5,000 extra.

The PE panels conform to UK standards but are rated as 'flammable' in Germany.



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