Leaked report links shoddy work to London's deadly Grenfell Tower fire
- Reportedly, a dossier leaked to the Evening Standard alleges that the Grenfell Tower fire in London last year, which killed 71 people, could have been avoided if construction crews that performed renovation work had adhered to certain safety measures.
- A 220-page Jan. 13 report from independent, third-party certification body BRE Global said the high-rise's cladding and insulation were both combustible and that renovators failed to comply with the safety standards set forth in applicable building codes for work throughout the structure. In addition to the cladding and insulation, which helped spread the fire, BRE investigators also found that cavity barriers were so poorly installed and of such insufficient size that they actually created a route for the fire instead of stopping it. BRE also determined that gaps in the window frame – and the material stuffed inside them – also contributed to the fire's proliferation. Lack of required door closers also allegedly provided more pathways for the fire.
- BRE also said that, prior to the refurbishment that took place from approximately 2014 to 2016, the building had a concrete exterior and either timber or metal frame windows that would have been able to better withstand the blaze. London's Metropolitan Police will reportedly use the dossier in its investigation, which involves conducting interviews with approximately 500 key contractors and subcontractors involved in the project.
Even as the fire was being extinguished and before all victims had been recovered, authorities had been looking into the building's aluminum cladding with a polyethylene core that had been supplied by U.S. company Arconic. The supplier came under fire for allowing material not deemed safe for high-rises to be used on the Grenfell project but initially responded that it was not responsible for determining whether the use of the product was building-code compliant. The company also faced legal action for not informing shareholders about where and how the combustible panels were being used.
Because of several high-rise fires involving cladding, the International Code Council is considering limiting the use of exterior panels made with combustible materials for buildings of heights.
A report from a consulting firm hired to trace the source of bad odors in the Millennium Tower in San Francisco found that the extreme sinking and leaning the building has experienced after construction has also resulted in gaps between the building's façade and main structure. This has created a pathway for fire and smoke to move rapidly between floors. City inspectors issued a fire safety risk violation citation against the Millennium. The developer must now either fix the issue or find an engineer or other qualified company to certify the building is safe.
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