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SafeKiwi  
#1 Posted : 13 July 2017 15:48:05(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
SafeKiwi

Hi All,

We're currently planning how to safely take 250mm x 250mm samples of cladding from our managed buildings.

We're planning to use abseilors to access the high areas to take the samples.

Has anyone already undertaken this and have any solutions to what they are replacing the cladding with? The DLCG are suggesting steel sheet but I can't seem to find anything readily available from local building merchants.

JohnW  
#2 Posted : 13 July 2017 17:19:09(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
JohnW

SK, I'm thinking you might be more successful posting this on a Fire Safety forum.
RayRapp  
#3 Posted : 13 July 2017 18:46:39(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

I would contact DCLG and ask them - after all, they are the ones making all the running on this topic.

Incidentally, why not take samples from lower down the building negating the need for abseilors - surely it's the same cladding?

Roundtuit  
#4 Posted : 13 July 2017 19:00:49(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Building fire safety is not an area of expertise but I will venture comment

Firstly is the cladding that high? Most of the news reports showed access via suitable MEWPS for low level works - typically the skin is the same through the height of the building.

Secondly is the cladding as listed in the build specification actually a concern (why sample something identified as an FR core composite or solid metal other than follow the flock panic) 

Does the build through warrant investigation (190 of 191 cladding sheet samples failed, the government has requested "as built" testing to which we await results)

As all buildings are unique the design of their cladding skins will be similarly unique ergo not available at the local builders merchants as they are manufactured on a project basis

As you are sampling: a patch larger than the hole you will be cutting from a suitable fire resistant material (pure metal sheeting e.g. rolled steel) sealed with a fire-resistant sealant to prevent water ingress would be a quick short term fix whilst you wait on the results

SafeKiwi  
#5 Posted : 14 July 2017 08:40:17(UTC)
Rank: New forum user
SafeKiwi

Thank you all for your responses. I will search out a fire specific forum and see what other answers I can find.

To elaborate on the protocol stated by DCLG. They require to cut out two samples 250mmx250mm from each building identified. One is to be above 18m and one below 18m. DCLG are not very forthcoming when you ask them questions. Their answers are vague and it appears they are managing this issue step-by-step.

Our client buildings are private residential and often do not have specifications and drawings from date of build so we are working on the presumption that cladding is combustible until otherwise proven through sampling.

We're thinking that we can use Abseilors to safely take samples from areas that may be less visible in order to minimise the aesthetic damage to the building from this process. 

A Kurdziel  
#6 Posted : 14 July 2017 13:56:49(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

I might be a bit thick but why are they even taking these samples. Surely when the cladding was put up somebody noted down what was being used and it should be possible to get a sample from the supplier without having to cut holes at 18 m height from every residential tower block in the country at great expense?

Could this just be an exercise for show, to demonstrate that the government was “doing something”- a bit like bolting doors after the horses have gone?

JohnW  
#7 Posted : 15 July 2017 12:40:51(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
JohnW

Originally Posted by: A Kurdziel Go to Quoted Post
I might be a bit thick but why are they even taking these samples. Surely when the cladding was put up somebody noted down what was being used and it should be possible to get a sample from the supplier..........
I know you are not thick, but that comment is naive. If I was involved in this I just would not trust anyone, no guarantee you'd get a sample that was from a batch of material they used, no guarantee someone today knows what colleagues actually did months or years ago. I know of companies with ISO9000 quality accreditation who are always fiddling 'submission samples' with little hope their production material will be the same, and clear fraudulent sampling to sell poorer quality product.
SNS  
#8 Posted : 15 July 2017 18:54:04(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
SNS

Quote:

I know of companies with ISO9000 quality accreditation who are always fiddling 'submission samples' with little hope their production material will be the same, and clear fraudulent sampling to sell poorer quality product.

That is quite an assertion John W.  Such actions should be reported to the police as a minimum, trade bodies and trading standards for investigation.

Also probably falls somewhere under the Code of Conduct ...

JohnW  
#9 Posted : 16 July 2017 00:58:29(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
JohnW

SNS, ah it's a long time ago before I was in H&S, and not the building industry. Some businesses will cut corners to save time/money and to get tender/submission to clients ahead of competitors, of course they often get caught out. I was a quality auditor in my previous life, so the example above, sampling cladding, I would want to be there when the samples were taken. Can't trust anybody when there is a lot at stake. Nowadays I often investigate workplace accidents. I know people will sometimes tell little lies, for whatever reason, so I always go back again later, see if I hear the same story.
boblewis  
#10 Posted : 16 July 2017 09:34:34(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
boblewis

Originally Posted by: SafeKiwi Go to Quoted Post

Thank you all for your responses. I will search out a fire specific forum and see what other answers I can find.

To elaborate on the protocol stated by DCLG. They require to cut out two samples 250mmx250mm from each building identified. One is to be above 18m and one below 18m. DCLG are not very forthcoming when you ask them questions. Their answers are vague and it appears they are managing this issue step-by-step.

Our client buildings are private residential and often do not have specifications and drawings from date of build so we are working on the presumption that cladding is combustible until otherwise proven through sampling.

We're thinking that we can use Abseilors to safely take samples from areas that may be less visible in order to minimise the aesthetic damage to the building from this process. 

Any structure built post 1994 should have the information and it is held by the freeholder, unless it is a strange one with every appartment and common areas as freehold by each resident.  Post construction cladding really began in the late 1990s so this too should be fully recorded and the information held by the building freeholder.

A Kurdziel  
#11 Posted : 17 July 2017 08:09:13(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

Originally Posted by: JohnW Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: A Kurdziel Go to Quoted Post
I might be a bit thick but why are they even taking these samples. Surely when the cladding was put up somebody noted down what was being used and it should be possible to get a sample from the supplier..........

I know you are not thick, but that comment is naive. If I was involved in this I just would not trust anyone, no guarantee you'd get a sample that was from a batch of material they used, no guarantee someone today knows what colleagues actually did months or years ago. I know of companies with ISO9000 quality accreditation who are always fiddling 'submission samples' with little hope their production material will be the same, and clear fraudulent sampling to sell poorer quality product.

I guessed the answer would be something like this: essentially you are saying in construction when push comes to shove it’s all down to money and that nobody trusts anybody despite all of the legislation, quality schemes and standards that are being applied. I had hoped that this sort of stuff had gone away years ago but it is very worrying that it still goes on and has anybody any ideas what we can do about it?

chris.packham  
#12 Posted : 17 July 2017 08:34:09(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
chris.packham

May I put another thought? Some of the cladding has been up for a considerable time. What is the possibility that ageing/weathering could have changed its properties? Having fairly recently replaced the roof on a workshop at home with nominally identical material it was obvious how the old material differed from the new. If I were investigating the cladding I would definitely want a sample of what is actually there as opposed to what might have been erected some time ago.

Chris

Roundtuit  
#13 Posted : 17 July 2017 08:46:40(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

So if we want to sample the product "as is", conduct destructive testing which can not be applied to product for sale and we now want to test naturallly aged/weatherd material does anyone know of any business with sufficiently deep pockets that has a 50 - 60 year lead time between product conception and actually generating revenue from its sale?

thanks 1 user thanked Roundtuit for this useful post.
A Kurdziel on 17/07/2017(UTC)
johnmurray  
#14 Posted : 17 July 2017 10:35:13(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
johnmurray

Maybe just not cladding a building in material that burns would be sufficient? Or is that too simple? Although I note, in today's press, that some places have had the suspect cladding removed, exposing material that was also flammable...
thanks 1 user thanked johnmurray for this useful post.
A Kurdziel on 17/07/2017(UTC)
A Kurdziel  
#15 Posted : 17 July 2017 10:45:33(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
A Kurdziel

I’d of thought that places like the Buildings Research Establishment, would of come up with ways to predict how a material will behave over time.  The idea that materials change their properties due to action of various forces (heat, sunlight, rain, pollution, wear and tear etc)   isn’t exactly novel and that, that would be taken into account when deciding what to use as a building material or am I the most naive person on earth who believes in Health and Safety unicorns that make things all better (Unicorn = H&S based standards)

JohnW  
#16 Posted : 17 July 2017 12:22:11(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
JohnW

Some building materials do 'age', especially roofing materials which are constantly exposed to sunlight and rain. This will make certain materials more brittle over time. There have been many serious accidents when roofers have stepped on a brittle skylight for example.

Wth regard to cladding insulation, this should be protected from sunlight by the metal frontage, and you would hope that the design protected any water damage from rain. So I wouldn't expect weather to affect the combustbility of insulation, but........ cladding insulation is likely mostly made from synthetic polymers, and some polymers do degrade with time if air/oxygen can get access - they can become brittle and crumble. It is possible that with some polymers such degradation can increase combustibilty as the chemical nature of the material has changed.

John

Roundtuit  
#17 Posted : 17 July 2017 20:44:07(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

All materials degrade over time - only the rate that differs (just look at the rust buckets some people drive on the road where it is only recently manufacturers offer 5 - 7 year anti-perforation warranties)

A lot of building materials do have "accelarated ageing" testing

"What" burning effect would you like the cladding to resist? Thermo-Nuclear weapon, fully fuelled jet liner crash, Thermite lance, Builders blow torch, vandals cigarette lighter, rogue bonfore night rocket, scented candle? You can make everything to the absolute standard or to an applicable standard taking in to account economic reality e.g. should all high rise be earthquake proof (in certain geographic regions this is a no brainer, but in the UK?)

Alfasev  
#18 Posted : 18 July 2017 13:59:00(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Alfasev

DCLG issues tall building cladding advice:-

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/628505/171013_-_Circular_Letter_guidance_on_re-cladding_final2.pdf

johnmurray  
#19 Posted : 18 July 2017 20:28:52(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
johnmurray

Originally Posted by: Roundtuit Go to Quoted Post
All materials degrade over time - onlythe rate that differs (just look at the rust buckets some people drive on the road whereit is only recently manufacturers offer5 -7 year anti-perforationwarranties)A lot of building materials do have "accelarated ageing" testing"What" burning effect would you like the cladding to resist? Thermo-Nuclear weapon, fully fuelled jet linercrash, Thermite lance, Builders blow torch, vandals cigarette lighter, rogue bonfore night rocket, scented candle?You can make everything to the absolute standard or to an applicable standard taking in to account economic reality e.g. shouldall high rise be earthquake proof (in certain geographic regions this is a no brainer, but in the UK?)
With the average domestic house fire running at a temp of around 600C, I would expect that it not be covered in a material that catches fire at a lower temperature... Nice to have the panel material be made of a metal that melts at a higher temp as well...some are Aluminium outside and zinc inside... Obviously, if you clad a building in a flammable material, it would be nice if the fire service could reach the entire building with its fire fighting equipment. Little things....
RayRapp  
#20 Posted : 18 July 2017 21:08:16(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

Apologies slightly off topic, there is a very good article in SHP regarding the Grenfell fire.

https://www.shponline.co.uk/grenfell-fallout-10-questions-need-answers/

thanks 1 user thanked RayRapp for this useful post.
JohnW on 19/07/2017(UTC)
JohnW  
#21 Posted : 19 July 2017 11:24:16(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
JohnW

johnmurray wrote:

With the average domestic house fire running at a temp of around 600C, I would expect that it not be covered in a material that catches fire at a lower temperature... Nice to have the panel material be made of a metal that melts at a higher temp as well...some are Aluminium outside and zinc inside... Obviously, if you clad a building in a flammable material, it would be nice if the fire service could reach the entire building with its fire fighting equipment. Little things....

I remember watching the Grenfell fire on TV, the fire brigade had arrived with their high ladder, the hose was spraying water onto the side of the building......

This is what I thought I could see: the water was hitting the metal cladding cover and bouncing off, you could see fire BEHIND the metal and the water was not reaching it......

​​​​​​​maybe I'm wrong but that's what it looked like

John

johnmurray  
#22 Posted : 19 July 2017 12:14:38(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
johnmurray

That's because behind the cladding was foam.... You'll note that the area reachable with the hoses is not a charred mess...much. http://www.structural-sa...oJYtl4Z5yQz0hiL_BTT4TfHY Intetesting, on quite a few things, via ppconstructionsafety
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JohnW on 19/07/2017(UTC)
JohnW  
#23 Posted : 19 July 2017 16:22:04(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
JohnW

Originally Posted by: johnmurray Go to Quoted Post
You'll note that the area reachable with the hoses is not a charred mess...much.

John M, the area that is not a charred mess is on the OTHER SIDE from where the fire started. The fire went across and up, but not down on that other side.

And that means samples can be taken of what was actually installed on the building.

John W

johnmurray  
#24 Posted : 19 July 2017 19:30:26(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
johnmurray

They know what was installed... The Insulation behind the panels was Celotex FR5000...150mm thick
Roundtuit  
#25 Posted : 19 July 2017 20:53:32(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Roundtuit

Drifting in to areas that should not be discussed on a public forum (did quite a lot of research on the materials used at Grenfell that should not be discussed during an on-going enquiry)

Someone was concerned about their fridge freezer being the same model behind the original outbreak, then it comes out the council has compensated for appliance damage arising from power surges within the building a matter beyond manufacturer control

Incidents are a chain of causational events - each one on its own benign, combined....

That is why we have investigations/enquiries etc. to identify root cause(s) and not the media frenzy of finger pointing or poorly conducted testing. Note the silence over the last few weeks since the test regieme was changed from attempting to burn vertical cladding panels with a blow torch?

JohnW  
#26 Posted : 20 July 2017 07:14:53(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
JohnW

Originally Posted by: johnmurray Go to Quoted Post
They know what was installed... The Insulation behind the panels was ........
So, getting back to the original subject, the non-charred section allows definite identification/proof of the material used.
boblewis  
#27 Posted : 27 July 2017 19:32:47(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
boblewis

I cannot help thinking back to some of my chemistry days - the heating of carbanaceous materials in an enclosed space, reduced oxygen environment, produces many breakdown products including carbon monoxide as well as other breakdown products inclusive of tars and volatile carbons. 

Without some major attempts to replicate conditions of installation and fire heat application the new tests will not reach a proper conclusion. I well remember the arguments in the Flixborough Inquiry concerning initiating mechanisms and all the evidence for each possibility had to be placed before the Inquiry Panel.  We have still to see some vigorous expert questioning of the possible fire mechanisms.

Personally I have yet to understand why samples above 18m are required until we can show that such a move is essential to the jigsaw given the risks involved in obtaining such sample panels.  We need to understand the Grenfell mechanisms before we can really look at other structures in detail.

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David Thomas on 27/07/2017(UTC)
johnmurray  
#28 Posted : 28 July 2017 05:37:40(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
johnmurray

From Constructionmanagermagazine.com: "The 'Building Regulations' and the associated 'Approved Document' are clear and unequivocal:- The external walls of the building shall adequately resist the spread of fire over the walls and from one building to another, having regard to the height, use and position of the building. In a building with a storey 18m or more above ground level any insulation product, filler material (not including gaskets, sealants and similar) etc. used in the external wall construction should be of limited combustibility. - Does the external wall of the building adequately resist the spread of fire over the wall? - Is the insulation product, filler material etc. of limited combustibility? Why have so many, been getting it so wrong, for so long!? David Sammons FCIOB FBIFM MCSD, 25 July 2017" "Money" is the answer.
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boblewis on 28/07/2017(UTC)
Invictus  
#29 Posted : 28 July 2017 06:22:36(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Invictus

Did anyone pick up this morning the solicitor who is representing the residents said they don't want corporate manslaughter as an individual cannot be jailed under this legislation.

Was that not the point of it?

Moderator 3  
#30 Posted : 28 July 2017 08:30:27(UTC)
Rank: Moderator
Moderator 3

All,

Remember to keep the discussion general to avoid falling outside the bounds of Forum Rule 9 which precludes discussion of potential or actual legal proceedings.

Thanks

Moderator 3 

johnmurray  
#31 Posted : 29 July 2017 08:19:23(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
johnmurray

Originally Posted by: Invictus Go to Quoted Post
Did anyone pick up this morning the solicitor who is representing the residents said they don't want corporate manslaughter as an individual cannot be jailed under this legislation.Was that not the point of it?
They're right. No custodial sentence. The fines are effectively unlimited though. Of course, a conviction will mean a fine for the council, and the taxpayer will pick up the tab. There are remedies for the council to recover some from the councillors concerned....
RayRapp  
#32 Posted : 31 July 2017 12:43:50(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
RayRapp

There is a provision within the CM&CH Act to include other health and safety offences s8 &s19, for example, HSWA and if an offence occurs s37 could be invoked, thereby holding to account individuals at a later stage.  

Stedman  
#33 Posted : 01 August 2017 09:10:21(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
Stedman

Before you rush in to take samples, it is likely that someone somewhere will have put together an operation and maintenance manual which should contain drawings and data and details relating to the installed cladding.  So it should not be necessary to rush in and take samples with all the hazards and risk associated with this task.

With the BRE undertaking extensive fire testing, that information will also be in the public domain.

Surely doing a desktop exercise is going to be quicker and more effective method of assessing what buildings are initially at risk?

Edited by user 01 August 2017 09:12:05(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

JohnW  
#34 Posted : 01 August 2017 16:26:52(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
JohnW

Originally Posted by: Stedman Go to Quoted Post

Surely doing a desktop exercise is going to be quicker and more effective method of assessing what buildings are initially at risk?

Stedman, as discussed earlier in the thread, we have to be thorough here, can't rely on contractors installing what they said in the drawings, or exactly by the correct method. Physical testing of site samples is essential.

John

Edited by user 01 August 2017 16:27:40(UTC)  | Reason: typo

boblewis  
#35 Posted : 05 August 2017 10:54:14(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
boblewis

Of course if we are to go by the Open Letter to the PM, signed by many in IOSH, and expounded by Lawrence Waterman in this months IOSH Magazine; The Grenfell fire was also attributable to deregulation.  The article just stopped short of saying that  deregulation may even have been the cause of people not wanting to understand the Building Regs to closely because they had not been updated following previous fires.  There is a valid viewpoint that says deregulation is not necessarily a bad thing as it requires people then to think about their actions through to potential consequences.  It comes back to the arguments put forward at the time of HASAWA when it was recognised that very specific legislation left vaste loopholes to avoid responsibility when things fail.  Remember Flixboro when no direct fault was found. 

The BR in all its complexities are well known to all designers and I find it hard to believe that there had been no thoughts about cladding flammability But Cost was an important issue, as was client satisfaction.

I also cannot see a valid argument to require cladding samples at high level when there is very high leklihood that lower and upper floors are in fact the same materials in the same building.  The requesters of the samples have no idea of the risks involved in gaining such samples.

johnmurray  
#36 Posted : 05 August 2017 11:07:57(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
johnmurray

Originally Posted by: boblewis Go to Quoted Post
Of course if we are to go by the Open Letter to the PM, signed by many in IOSH, and expounded by Lawrence Waterman in this months IOSH Magazine; The Grenfell fire was also attributable to deregulation. The article just stopped short of saying that deregulation may even have been the cause of people not wanting to understand the Building Regs to closely because they had not been updated following previous fires. There is a valid viewpoint that says deregulation is not necessarily a bad thing as it requires people then to think about their actions through to potential consequences. It comes back to the arguments put forward at the time of HASAWA when it was recognised that very specific legislation left vaste loopholes to avoid responsibility when things fail. Remember Flixboro when no direct fault was found. The BR in all its complexities are well known to all designers and I find it hard to believe that there had been no thoughts about cladding flammability But Cost was an important issue, as was client satisfaction. I also cannot see a valid argument to require cladding samples at high level when there is very high leklihood that lower and upper floors are in fact the same materials in the same building. The requesters of the samples have no idea of the risks involved in gaining such samples.
The floors above 18 metres are supposed to be of "limited combustibilty" The floors below, presumably, are a lower standard. Without sampling, how is that to be known? "From Constructionmanagermagazine.com: "The 'Building Regulations' and the associated 'Approved Document' are clear and unequivocal:- The external walls of the building shall adequately resist the spread of fire over the walls and from one building to another, having regard to the height, use and position of the building. In a building with a storey 18m or more above ground level any insulation product, filler material (not including gaskets, sealants and similar) etc. used in the external wall construction should be of limited combustibility. - Does the external wall of the building adequately resist the spread of fire over the wall? - Is the insulation product, filler material etc. of limited combustibility? Why have so many, been getting it so wrong, for so long!? David Sammons FCIOB FBIFM MCSD, 25 July 2017"
boblewis  
#37 Posted : 05 August 2017 17:40:14(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
boblewis

John

I read the Regs to mean that if a building is >18m tall then all cladding has to be essentially non combustible.  It would need , for me, that double mental somersaults are rquired to believe that at lower levels below 18m combustible materials are used especially those not recommended for use above 12m by the manufacturer.

johnmurray  
#38 Posted : 06 August 2017 06:47:59(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
johnmurray

Yessss.... The Building Regulations 2010, part B... Look at part B4, diagram 40. There seems a certain amount of leeway given on cladding/heights/combustability. In any case...nobody is believable anymore..
boblewis  
#39 Posted : 06 August 2017 19:04:18(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
boblewis

Originally Posted by: johnmurray Go to Quoted Post
Yessss.... The Building Regulations 2010, part B... Look at part B4, diagram 40. There seems a certain amount of leeway given on cladding/heights/combustability. In any case...nobody is believable anymore..

BUT more tightly written legislation will take us back to the 18th and 19th centuries when loopholes were continually found by employers that were then blocked by further specific laws that were then again subject to loopholes and so forth ad infinitum, This led inexorably to the mess of regulations that the 1974 act tried to resolve, however the EU took us back around to the past with regular specific legislation.  People unlearned how to assess risk and take responsibility

Edited by user 06 August 2017 19:43:34(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

johnmurray  
#40 Posted : 07 August 2017 04:47:53(UTC)
Rank: Super forum user
johnmurray

Yes Bob... But we return to past events... The cladding panels on the building were a composite of foam filler encased in aluminium, behind which were blocks of foam cladding. The behaviour of which, in a fire, has been known for a period. Have a read: http://www.probyn-miers....perspective-from-the-uk/
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