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Thread: Grenfell Tower fire

  1. #31
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    It is nothing to do with deposits being held by a regulated body not a landlord. That's smoke. As you know the management agency is not the regulated body responsible for deposits anyway.

    You are deliberately conflating two separate concepts. In private rental the 'average Joe' landlord if he is lucky enough uses an agency to handle the 'laws and complexities'.

    This is council housing. Such laws and complexities were once handled by the body best suited to deal with 'laws and complexities' - the council. Now, like many other ex-council services, it is usually farmed out to a private concern. This change was an ideological one, and it had benefits and pitfalls.

    Part B of the building regs was last reviewed in 2006. Gavin Barwell said in parliament that he would review it last year following another tower block fire (Lakanal House), and then didn't.
    No, but the point I'm making is that very few landlords manage their own properties. It's is usually done by a management agency or lettings agency, and depending on the contract, they are either responsible for making sure the building meets safety regulations, or making sure the building meets safety regulations and paying for it.

    It's nearly always the case. A typical fee is 10% of rent plus VAT, 12% total and if the tenant leaves they then find a new tenant for free and advertise for free in the first place, another reason most go down this route. Then there is the administrative effort; organising fire inspections, gas certification, electricity certificate, general state of property inspections. It's not ideological, it's just a ******* big pain in the **** to do it yourself.

    Of course one could ask why flats in Southwark council were owned by Kensington and Chelsea council but then Southwark have been none too hot in the past. Lakanal House happened in 2009.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commenti...y-tower-blocks

    In 2009, when Lakanal House in Camberwell, south London, caught fire, three women and three children died in what was at the time the worst ever tower block fire in the UK. Southwark council was fined £570,000 for breaching fire regulations, after the fire brigade arrived baffled to see how the flames ripped through the building.

    Yet even then there were concerns about the lessons learned. Siân Berry, a Green London assembly member, today said the fact that central fire alarms and drills are still not required for residential buildings is deeply worrying. A report commissioned by Berry and London assembly colleagues after the Southwark fire raised huge concerns that many fire safety checks were inadequate and carried out by people without sufficient training, and that tenants were often not given sufficient information on fire safety protocol.

  2. #32
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    TonyT and BM, take a look at CDM regulations and you'll understand why they're hounding that guy. Nobody knows what caused the fire, but from the video, a lot of the fire seemed to be burning on the actual outside of the building.

  3. #33
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    TonyT - if only CFCs didn't obliterate the ozone layer.

  4. #34
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    Unless proven otherwise it would appear the contractor put up the cladding he was contracted to put up.

    Are you suggesting that the devolution of administrative functions from Local Authorities to private companies that we have seen over the past few years was because the people who's job it was just found it too much of a pain in the ****, and said 'why don't you engage a private company to do this and lay me off'?

    Is it also not possible that the reason the people doing the fire safety checks were not properly qualified to do so was because it stopped being the job of the fire service and became that of private contractors under the same programme of devolution?

    Just a thought.
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  5. #35
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    Ryan, it could simply be the way it is assembled and acting like a chimney between the wall and the outer skin... agreed it is burning, but the design of the mounting may be a factor in allowing it to spread so quickly and get up to the temperatures required for ignition etc... hence no one knows yet.

    http://news.sky.com/story/mps-demand...eting-10916808

    MPs demand Grenfell Tower answers in sombre Parliament meeting
    Surely that should be The Public demand answers from the MP's as to why they lessoned the regulations and sat on the findings of the last incident and did not take action... especially as a lot of the cronies in parliament appear to be major players in the landlord business.

  6. #36
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    I've given this subject its own thread, and taken it out of the GE2017 discussion. Some posts do refer in part to the more general discussion in there, so please bear that in mind.

  7. #37
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    Unless proven otherwise it would appear the contractor put up the cladding he was contracted to put up.

    Are you suggesting that the devolution of administrative functions from Local Authorities to private companies that we have seen over the past few years was because the people who's job it was just found it too much of a pain in the ****, and said 'why don't you engage a private company to do this and lay me off'?

    Is it also not possible that the reason the people doing the fire safety checks were not properly qualified to do so was because it stopped being the job of the fire service and became that of private contractors under the same programme of devolution?

    Just a thought.
    That's unknown BM and it's very unlikely that anyone specifically told him to use a highly flammable cladding and he should have been in a position to advise against it even if they did. He is the responsible party as the contractor doing the work.

    http://www.hse.gov.uk/pUbns/priced/hsg168.pdf

    The guidance is relevant to all construction projects, small and large, and
    aimed at all with a role in developing, managing and applying safety standards
    on site. Construction fire safety needs to be managed from the earliest stages of
    design and procurement and needs to address the risks both to site workers and
    to site neighbours. This may mean rejecting proposals for particular methods and
    materials in a specific location, based on the potential for serious consequences
    from any fire during the construction stage, or planning additional, sometimes
    expensive or difficult, mitigation methods if a specific design or method is not to
    be changed. It is essential that fire safety measures are considered throughout all
    stages of the procurement and design process and implemented effectively during
    the construction phase. This guidance is aimed at clients, co-ordinators, designers,
    planners, contractors and workers.
    Competitive tendering BM, plus pensions liabilities. It might seem stupid to you, but even in the private sector itself, most large companies go down this route. E.g. at one point BAE made most of its own tools and even stuff like screws, but now not. This allows a company to focus on its main line of business more clearly rather than being a jack of all trades and have horrible problems managing resources. So in this light, the main line of the business of government is governing, not estate management, hence why it was contracted out, just as the management agency contracted out the refurbishment, because it does estate management not construction work.

    Well there have been no changes since 2006.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histor...United_Kingdom

  8. #38
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    No. Just.. no.

    For various reasons to do with my job, I know a fair amount about how councils contract out work and the difference between competitive tendering for goods and services and the closing down of departments and migrating their function to a third party organisation. And there is a difference. The former allows continual oversight of the tendering and supply process by the authority with a democratic responsibility to ensure best practice. The latter does not as the responsibility for best practice no longer resides with the council.

    Case in point. A) Council orders new cladding, council has a responsibility to ensure fire safety. B) Quasi-commercial private interest orders new cladding, council can deny responsibility to ensure fire safety.
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  9. #39
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    That's unknown BM and it's very unlikely that anyone specifically told him to use a highly flammable cladding and he should have been in a position to advise against it even if they did. He is the responsible party as the contractor doing the work.
    But surely he will simply be submitting a quote based upon the specifications of materials listed in and put out for tender for the job, now if he was to change the specifications of the materials he used for a lesser product without disclosing that for a profit, then yes he is culpable, but if he has tendered to the specification and has installed that material to the specification, then surely he is without fault.... hindsight is everything, but if as is probably the case this material is used the country over why is he at fault?? He has won a tender based on a specification and contractually satisfied that tender... I cannot see how anyone could then try to blame him, nor his company, and how much his house cost is neither here nor there.

  10. #40
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    Competitive tendering BM, plus pensions liabilities. It might seem stupid to you, but even in the private sector itself, most large companies go down this route. E.g. at one point BAE made most of its own tools and even stuff like screws, but now not. This allows a company to focus on its main line of business more clearly rather than being a jack of all trades and have horrible problems managing resources. So in this light, the main line of the business of government is governing, not estate management, hence why it was contracted out, just as the management agency contracted out the refurbishment, because it does estate management not construction work.
    Yes but BAe will when tendering out spares issue a specification for the materials, dimensions, size, hardness, coatings and finish used in that screw and samples will be periodically tested to ensure those specifications are met.

    The same will be for the cladding.... you do not simply issue a tender without any specification and say I want you to tart up the exterior of a building or you could get hundreds of tenders ranging from wallpaper, paint, wood finish, and cladding.
    You issue a tender with a set of specifics laid down, companies then bid a price to install that specified material and you then issue a contract and they carry out the work, which again is inspected etc before being signed off. I do wonder as its been mentioned the USA has a building height limit for using these materials if the specification was issued based upon the materials used on the lower school buildings shown ( as it was mentioned on the news it used similar ) to make it blend into the area, but answers will hopefully come.
    Last edited by TonyT; 16th June 2017 at 15:01.

  11. #41
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    I wonder what happened to the role of the Agrement Board in all this ? The Agrement Board is a joint Govt. and private industry funded body supervising safety and construction standards for construction materials in this country.

    I was involved in the design and construction of lightweight, structural and non structural concrete cladding panels for use primarily in tower block construction. At the conclusion of the design stage, panels had to be submitted to the Agrement Board for analysis of composition, wear tests, resistance to attack by a variety of substances including fire.

    Were they not supervising the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower ? If they weren't, why not ?

  12. #42
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    Ah, someone who knows something about the subject! Who let him in?
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  13. #43
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    No. Just.. no.

    For various reasons to do with my job, I know a fair amount about how councils contract out work and the difference between competitive tendering for goods and services and the closing down of departments and migrating their function to a third party organisation. And there is a difference. The former allows continual oversight of the tendering and supply process by the authority with a democratic responsibility to ensure best practice. The latter does not as the responsibility for best practice no longer resides with the council.

    Case in point. A) Council orders new cladding, council has a responsibility to ensure fire safety. B) Quasi-commercial private interest orders new cladding, council can deny responsibility to ensure fire safety.
    Well I'm sure lots of councils have directly contracted someone and had this cladding put up. The bottom line is that the contractor should not be using such dangerous cladding as it goes against HSE guidelines. JFC, even if they specifically told him to use that cladding, it is still on him. Case in point, I go to have an MOT done, I know I have 3 bald tyres and one tail light out but I tell the garage to pass me anyway. Who's fault is it if they do?

    Yes but BAe will when tendering out spares issue a specification for the materials, dimensions, size, hardness, coatings and finish used in that screw and samples will be periodically tested to ensure those specifications are met.

    The same will be for the cladding.... you do not simply issue a tender without any specification and say I want you to tart up the exterior of a building or you could get hundreds of tenders ranging from wallpaper, paint, wood finish, and cladding.
    You issue a tender with a set of specifics laid down, companies then bid a price to install that specified material and you then issue a contract and they carry out the work, which again is inspected etc before being signed off. I do wonder as its been mentioned the USA has a building height limit for using these materials if the specification was issued based upon the materials used on the lower school buildings shown to make it blend into the area, but answers will hopefully come.
    You vastly over-estimate how specific tenders are. Mostly a tender will refer to a series of regulations, standards and guidelines that the work must be compliant with, not that it needs to in the case of legislation, because that applies whether they do or don't.

    Let's put things in perspective here, neither an estate management agent or a local council is an expert in the field of construction, yet people are somehow assuming they should be, whilst assuming the person who's supposed to be, isn't, and shouldn't be held accountable. Do you not see that as somehow backwards logic? E.g. if I pay, via a letting's agent, to have a registered electrician come out and do a routine electrical safety certification or some electrical work on a rented property and he gets it wrong, who's to blame, me, the letting's agent or him? I would like to think that so long as I have the invoice and a receipt to show that I paid for the work in good faith, that would put me in the clear. Because, God knows, if it doesn't, then any random dumb **** could land me in jail at any time and I'd have to pay them for it. And in this case, it would cost £2.6m. Someone took £2.6m from a local council and covered a block of flats in napalm wrap but nobody should question them.
    Last edited by Ryan; 16th June 2017 at 15:20.

  14. #44
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    Well, it's not the tyre manufacturer or the tail light installer, which is what you are arguing.

    Your MOT argument would be more akin to asking the fire safety inspector to pass the existing building when it's actually dangerous.. which is another scenario entirely,

    I am not sure the cladding was specifically against HSE guidelines, though it might have been?
    Last edited by Beermat; 16th June 2017 at 15:14.
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  15. #45
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    One, we do not know the cause yet Ryan and Two, it may well have been an approved material, hence the concerns about the lowering of standards by the Government. I listened to Corbyn wittering on about how could a fire spread so quickly in a building that was essentially made up of concrete boxes... well yes, but humans need air, light and access so you need doorways, windows, electric, gas, water conduits, suddenly his concrete boxes are concrete colanders.
    Hence why a politician who has no practical knowledge of the building industry, nor is an expert in fire prevention and cause, is probably not the best to comment on it, that is why they have committees to take advice from those that do before making decisions. At the moment sadly it feels it is all about MPs and parties using it to score points against each other.
    Take them having ago at May for not talking to the public, I think she did the right thing, she prioritised and spoke to those on the ground to ascertain if any other resources are needed away from prying press, far better than a phone call as she can see first hand and understand and appreciate what the emergency services are telling her, the talking to those involved can come later, it is in no ones interest to have a slanging match on the street... The Lord Mayor of London found that out.

    You have to remember this building was built in the 70's, rules and regulations change, and you try to adapt buildings to new regulations, but that is not always possible... you wouldn't dream of putting a building up today with asbestos in it, but the one I work in has it, even the outside walls are painted with asbestos based paint as well, it is ok if contained, so it is.
    Last edited by TonyT; 16th June 2017 at 15:32.

  16. #46
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    Well this is interesting.

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/380653...ammable-cheap/

    Manufacturers Omnis Exteriors has now confirmed to the Guardian it supplied Reynobond PE cladding to contractors Harley Facades for the project.

    The aluminium panels are £2 per square metre cheaper than Reynobond FR panels – which are fire resistant.

    It was previously revealed the Reynobond PE cladding is BANNED in America on buildings taller than 40ft for safety reasons.
    Omnis director John Cowley said all the cladding and panels the firm supplied were “fully compliant with regulations”.

    He told the Guardian: “We supplied components for a system created by the design and build team on that project.”
    Hep hem.

    http://www.hse.gov.uk/pUbns/priced/hsg168.pdf

    The guidance is relevant to all construction projects, small and large, and
    aimed at all with a role in developing, managing and applying safety standards
    on site. Construction fire safety needs to be managed from the earliest stages of
    design and procurement and needs to address the risks both to site workers and
    to site neighbours. This may mean rejecting proposals for particular methods and
    materials in a specific location, based on the potential for serious consequences
    from any fire during the construction stage, or planning additional, sometimes
    expensive or difficult, mitigation methods if a specific design or method is not to
    be changed.
    It is essential that fire safety measures are considered throughout all
    stages of the procurement and design process and implemented effectively during
    the construction phase. This guidance is aimed at clients, co-ordinators, designers,
    planners, contractors and workers.
    Where combustible or flammable materials have to be used,
    select the least combustible alternatives.
    Substitute with less flammable materials.
    He's done.
    Last edited by Ryan; 16th June 2017 at 15:40.

  17. #47
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    Yes. Exactly. That is how you win a contract in purely competitive tendering when there is no oversight based on responsibility to people, just a set of regulations to conform to. You do it the cheapest way possible to meet the criteria, and reflect that in your offer on price. This applies right along the chain.

    But I am with TonyT on this - that is not the fault of the company that won the tender. Imagine if the employees of a company all got laid off because the directors were approving bids that were more expensive than they needed to be, and so no contracts were being won?

    That the regulations do not specifically cover this type of cladding as they do in the US is, as it turns out, POSSIBLY a ministerial failing. It does need to be investigated, and it is.

    But I am getting the same queasy feeling I get when the forum speculates on air crashes. The fact is no-one knows. I doubt there will be any kind of cover-up, and I am sure the truth will out.
    Last edited by Beermat; 16th June 2017 at 15:49.
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  18. #48
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    Well, it's not the tyre manufacturer or the tail light installer, which is what you are arguing.

    Your MOT argument would be more akin to asking the fire safety inspector to pass the existing building when it's actually dangerous.. which is another scenario entirely,

    I am not sure the cladding was specifically against HSE guidelines, though it might have been?
    BM - If you mean, does it specifically say not to use that cladding, then you are right. However it does say to use the least flammable materials, so given that the contractor's own design and build team picked a flammable substance (banned in the US for such projects) instead of a fire resistant substance costing £2/m^2 more, they have clearly gone against the guidelines.

    The point is BM, he is responsible for making the design decisions of the project.
    Last edited by Ryan; 16th June 2017 at 15:47.

  19. #49
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    One, we do not know the cause yet Ryan and Two, it may well have been an approved material, hence the concerns about the lowering of standards by the Government. I listened to Corbyn wittering on about how could a fire spread so quickly in a building that was essentially made up of concrete boxes... well yes, but humans need air, light and access so you need doorways, windows, electric, gas, water conduits, suddenly his concrete boxes are concrete colanders.
    Hence why a politician who has no practical knowledge of the building industry, nor is an expert in fire prevention and cause, is probably not the best to comment on it, that is why they have committees to take advice from those that do before making decisions. At the moment sadly it feels it is all about MPs and parties using it to score points against each other.
    Take them having ago at May for not talking to the public, I think she did the right thing, she prioritised and spoke to those on the ground to ascertain if any other resources are needed away from prying press, far better than a phone call as she can see first hand and understand and appreciate what the emergency services are telling her, the talking to those involved can come later, it is in no ones interest to have a slanging match on the street... The Lord Mayor of London found that out.

    You have to remember this building was built in the 70's, rules and regulations change, and you try to adapt buildings to new regulations, but that is not always possible... you wouldn't dream of putting a building up today with asbestos in it, but the one I work in has it, even the outside walls are painted with asbestos based paint as well, it is ok if contained, so it is.
    Well actually Corbyn is right in this rare instance, the original designer said the same.

    HSE fire safety in construction says to use the least flammable materials. Therefore, if there was a fire resistant material that cost £2/m^2 more he should have used it. The guidance also specifically states that this is extremely important where the risks caused by fire is high.

  20. #50
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    But I am with TonyT on this - that is not the fault of the company that won the tender.
    The design and build team at Harley Facades chose that material instead of a fire resistant one of the same brand... for an 18-storey block of flats.
    Last edited by Ryan; 16th June 2017 at 15:57.

  21. #51
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    We don't know who chose the material. I have tried to find the tender - it should be available online through 'Open Government' and all that, but despite the fact this is what I do for a living (or part of it) I have failed, which suggests it has been discretely removed.

    The fact remains that we don't know:

    A) Whether the party that completed and returned the tender, which we shall presume was Harley but may not have been, gave just one option in their response or possibly several costed options. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that they proposed at least two variants in delivery: 1) cheap, legal and not entirely safe and 2) safe. Though it is NEVER phrased that way, that does in fact happen all the time. The client then decides on the package.

    B) Whether the tender scoring was weighted on cost or compliance, and whether that compliance includes that with HSE guidelines (which need not actually get mentioned at all, if only guidelines not regulations). If the former than absolutely NO contractor would go in with the higher-cost option with no low-cost alternative.

    C) Whether in fact the material was specified by Harley at all, and not 1) the tenderer or 2) a subcontractor

    So less of the hounding would be good.
    Last edited by Beermat; 16th June 2017 at 16:13.
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  22. #52
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    Yes we do.

    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/380653...ammable-cheap/

    Manufacturers Omnis Exteriors has now confirmed to the Guardian it supplied Reynobond PE cladding to contractors Harley Facades for the project.

    He told the Guardian: “We supplied components for a system created by the design and build team on that project.”
    A) A rough guess at the surface area of the building says we're talking about less than £10k difference on a £2.6m project. More likely they just screwed up an specified bad materials.

    B) CDM regulations call for all steps reasonably practical to be taken, so the specific prohibition of a material isn't required.

    C) An estate management agency wrote material specs?

    http://www.harleyfacades.co.uk/

    Harley Facades Ltd provides a comprehensive design and construction package for building envelopes including; curtain walling, windows, doors, structural glazing, and rainscreen cladding systems.
    Okay, we have 3 potential culprits.

    http://www.harleyfacades.co.uk/File/...ll%20Tower.pdf
    http://www.studioe.co.uk/?page_id=21
    http://www.rydon.co.uk/
    Last edited by Ryan; 16th June 2017 at 16:51.

  23. #53
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    Watching the misguided gentleman on TV at the Kensington council offices with his demands, they are doing themselves no good asking the impossible as in how many dead, how many in the building, and then moaning that they are not getting an answer, I realise things are heated, but at least ask things that are physically possible to give replies to.... Oh and he wants answers but not a public enquiry. And to think others have to fight to get one.

  24. #54
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    Ryan I will say this again

    YOU DO NOT KNOW THIS

    The design and build team at Harley Facades chose that material instead of a fire resistant one of the same brand... for an 18-storey block of flats.
    They may be working to a Specification issued by the Architect or the construction company or others involved, they will simply be subcontractors on the job, you cannot go round saying that they are at fault, end off. You are also quoting paltry price differences based on the material used, do you know if the attachment system is the same, are the boards bigger, smaller, heavier, lighter, have different requirements and are compatible with the building? Were they available at the time in sufficient quantities to do the job? Price per square foot is not a guide to price hung on a wall.

    I cannot believe in two pages everyone has become an expert in building and cladding construction and the rules and regulations. I am not either, that's why I say leave it up to those that are and we will eventually find out, they are the ones that will know, not you, not me, and not Jeremy Corbyn.

    And as for cost, don't forget that 737 you go off on holiday in is put together using 100's of thousands of parts built from items manufactured under contract at the best possible price.



    I see that has been Lilly Allen of the Calais farce has been popping up and mouthing off again on things she has no idea about..... Ahhh pop stars and actors, sing a song and they think they are the worlds authority on everything.


    ..
    Last edited by TonyT; 16th June 2017 at 17:53.

  25. #55
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    I am not an expert on construction or building regs, but I have submitted a few high value tenders to local authorities and associated bodies in my time.

    Ryan, TonyT is right, we don't know nearly enough about the specifics of the business or the circumstances of this particular contract to start pinning blame like this just yet. That includes ministers and council leaders, so I will wind my own neck in on that score. I doubt our glorious media will, but that's just a sad fact of where we are as a society. No more comment from me on this.
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  26. #56
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    I wasn't inferring we should all stop posting, simply saying that you change the spec of one part, it can have a knock on effect with the rest.

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    If the Agrement Board was involved in the certification of the cladding panels they would have issued the materials used with the appropriate certification. So that has to be one of the first questions: had the panels received Agrement Board certification specifying them fit for purpose ?

  28. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony T
    I cannot believe in two pages everyone has become an expert in building and cladding construction and the rules and regulations.
    You have never come across the Dunning Kruger Effect then?

    It is much in evidence here, and widely across the web.

    Moggy
    "What you must remember" Flip said "is that nine-tenths of Cattermole's charm lies beneath the surface." Many agreed.

  29. #59
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    There's Harley Facades, Studio E and Rydon. Harley was the prime contractor, which gives them overall responsibility whatever, but if one of the other two chose the cladding, then they would also be culpable.

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    Ryan, much as we disagree on things, I would hate for you to be sued for using words such as responsibility, culpable and culprits when the result of any enquiry is months or years away.

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