005 RCI 0717

RCI July 2017

EDITOR’S COMMENT Further reading: Arconic discontinues global sales of Reynobond PE for high-rise buildings and further testing ordered p.06. Fire safety: An introduction to Part B p.20. RCIMAG.COM JULY 2017 005 Questions for construction following Grenfell Tower tragedy When discussing and writing about safety, one of the biggest issues is that the nature of the response is often reactive; it’s often after an incident, or even worse a tragedy, that people take steps to initiate measures and ensure that ‘this doesn’t happen again’, rather than taking the necessary steps to ensure problems can’t arise in the first place. The phrase ‘make sure this doesn’t happen again’ has been used a number of times in relation to the horrific fire that tore through the Grenfell Tower residential development in West London – and rightly so, however those words seem somewhat hollow when we consider that this is not the first time a fire of this type has caused such devastation. Even after enquiries into those earlier tragedies we find ourselves counting the human cost at Grenfell. Worse still, subsequent cladding combustibility checks by BRE on high-rise blocks of flats in local authority areas across the UK have shown 100% failure rate (at the time of writing) so we find ourselves in the impossible situation where families throughout the UK are questioning the safety of the buildings they reside in, and dealing with the upheaval and chaos that comes with tenant evacuations, while Government and councils struggle to adapt to a continually evolving situation. People are rightly asking ‘how can this be allowed to have happened?’ and ‘who is responsible?’ These questions will be at the heart of the public enquiry led by Sir Martin Moore- Bick, but those findings may take years to be published. The feeling is there will be a full review of Building Regs and changes will be implemented. But more pressingly, we have to think about the safety of residents and occupiers of buildings throughout the UK. As such, The Department for Communities and Local Government has appointed an ‘independent expert advisory panel’ made up of a range of building and fire safety experts ‘to look at what immediate action is required to reassure the public that everything possible is being done to make all public and private dwellings safe as quickly as possible.’ Understandably emotions are running high and there has been a lot of finger-pointing and blame apportioned, but in the rush to find a culprit, we must not lose sight of the bigger picture and establish how with all the legislation, regulations, modern materials and knowledge within the construction sector, these materials have been able to find themselves on to buildings. In the rush to hit housing targets and build more homes, there is an urge to deregulate and cut red tape, but this cannot be at the expense of constructing safe environments for people to occupy and live in. Likewise, if it is found that price has been a deciding factor in the choice of materials, then changing the mentality that enables the construction sector to cut corners in certain situations and build with price rather safety in mind needs to be urgently addressed. Matt Downs, RCI editor Overheard on Twitter Follow: @RCImag The Redland Apprentice of the Year 2017 - Joe Stradling @_Redland At the @_redland #AOTY Awards, such a high standard of competition, #apprentices have been put through their paces & all responded well!@RCImag Build Your Future 2017 is being launched by @CITB_UK and @DWP. More information here: http://bit.ly/2tHzdzK@BuildUK More info about the Housing Infrastructure Fund launched today by @sajidjavid: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/23- billion-investment-in-infrastructure-for-newhousing … #LGAConf17@CommunitiesUK Investment in the next generation is key to solving the skills shortage in #construction industry #BRUFMAconf @BRUFMA Sign the open letter to the PM Theresa May calling for an end to health & safety deregulation following #Grenfell https://www.iosh.co.uk/News/Letter-to-the- Prime-Minister.aspx …@BritishSafetyCouncil Excellent news that solar is producing more energy than coal on #SolarIndependenceDay @thesolartrade @sajidjavid talking about tackling the housing crisis faced by #localgov #LGAconf17 @LGAcomms We want buildings that....are #netzero! Take & share a photo with the #OurHeroIsZero sign, tell us what kind of buildings you want #WGBW2017 @WorldGBC "Regulations, legislation and standards lag behind product innovation and technological advancement" #BRUFMAconf @BBAguru @BRUFMA Grenfell action panel brings in RICS president and BRE chief @corc LRWA pledges support to @TheNFRC #Safe2Torch to reduce risks of fires on site. We pledge support - do you? #roofing @LRWAAssociation Sarah Beale, @CITB_UK at #SPRAConference2017 "we've tried to be all things to all people" but message has been get back to the nitty gritty @RCImag #Singleply industry celebrates excellence at the #SPRA Awards http://www.spra.co.uk/event-news/918-singleply industry-celebrates-excellence-at-thespra awards … #ChooseSPRA ! @singleply It’s important we make the #engineering industry appealing for women. There are so many different roles available! #INWED17 @WES1919 @MidlandLead Want to develop how you work collaboratively using BIM on live projects? Go to http://bit.ly/2sm8YLb for more info @nfbuilders Take part in our construction survey as we look to distinguish the skills shortages our industry faces http://bit.ly/2sK2Jor @BarbourABI


RCI July 2017
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