Brexit - The UK and the EU

Discussion in 'In The News' started by Fwiffo, Feb 20, 2016.

  1. fxh

    fxh OG Party Suit Wearer Supporter

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    Flammable cladding found on 50 per cent of new Melbourne high-rises
    Aisha Dow & Simon Johanson
    FEBRUARY 17 2016

    Half of central Melbourne's newest high-rises have been installed with flammable cladding, prompting a fresh audit of "hundreds" of buildings across Victoria and new investigations into building practitioners.

    The state's building regulator says it has discovered "an unacceptably high" level of non-compliance in its coercive audit of 170 large apartments, hotels, hospitals and aged-care homes.
    Victorian Building Authority (VBA) chief executive, Prue Digby, said there was a "systemic issue" across the building industry with the correct installation of external cladding.

    "We have a problem with what the people who are designing and constructing and signing off buildings know and understand about compliance. And that is the issue that has to be fixed."
    [​IMG]

    A near-catastrophic fire at the Lacrosse Building in Docklands sparked the initial VBA probe, after it was discovered combustible aluminium cladding fuelled the rapid spread of the blaze from the eighth floor to the top of the 23-storey tower.

    The VBA launched an investigation into the building practitioners involved – and has now widened that probe to include those responsible for the construction of the Harvest Apartments in Southbank, which was subject to an emergency order after similar cladding was found on more than 50 per cent of its facade.

    The VBA will also launch a further audit of construction projects linked to building surveyors, designers, builders and other practitioners whose work has been identified as problematic.

    In December the Metropolitan Fire Brigade questioned the competency of the Victorian building regulator, in a report that strained relations between the two groups. "The MFB questions whether the VBA understands the extent or consequences of the problem [with fire safety breaches] or how to resolve it," it said.

    This week MFB chief officer Peter Rau said he was concerned that such a large proportion of the buildings inspected were non-compliant.

    "This is a concerning indicator for both MFB and fire services in other states as to what could be on buildings throughout Australia. The matter revolves for us around firefighter and community safety and this figure is unacceptably high," he said.

    It is the VBA's stated mission to regulate for a "quality built environment in Victoria". Ms Digby said she did not believe the high rate of cladding non-compliance proved that the regulator had failed.

    "I don't accept that. This is a national issue, not a Victorian issue. This is the first audit of this kind that's been done in this country," she said.

    Ms Digby said the authority would seek to educate industry players on their responsibilities and it supported the Victorian government's bid for mandatory product certification of cladding and other sensitive building materials, to reduce confusion about appropriate use.

    Of the 170 construction projects audited so far, the VBA said only the Lacrosse and Harvest buildings were found to a pose "significant safety issue", meaning "Melburnians can continue to have confidence in the safety of the buildings they live in and use".

    However, the Royal Women's Hospital and the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre are among another four other buildings in the central city that the fire brigade has placed on a heightened response due to fears the flammable cladding could fuel an unusually ferocious blaze.

    There is growing frustration within the state government and fire brigade that the VBA has still not completed its investigation into the Lacrosse Docklands fire, which occurred in November 2014.

    Ms Digby said it would be completed within two months and due to statute of limitations would go before a disciplinary tribunal rather than the court system. "I make no apologies for the thoroughness of the investigation," she said.

    To read the VBA's full external wall cladding audit report visit www.vba.vic.gov.au.
     
  2. formby

    formby Well-Known Member

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    Good article.

    [...]"We have a problem with what the people who are designing and constructing and signing off buildings know and understand about compliance. And that is the issue that has to be fixed."[...]

    This was interesting, and worrying.
     
  3. Lord Buckley

    Lord Buckley Well-Known Member

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    It might be the DUP that takes on the role Brutus and says the condition that we support you is that she goes. We'll soon find out next week.

    Many products and component parts are initially and also in batches extremely well tested for fire retardant qualities. So are we saying this cladding has met all the EU safety codes and testing down to the individual batch? French manufacture of the cladding is worrying. Two companies in France I deal with had been found to be forging test results for the Nuclear industry last year. We also had issues with them for oil & gas.

    Plastic and aluminium are well known to be extremely toxic in fires. So I am intrigued how we got to the position where we are cladding our high rise buildings in plastic?

    So many possible issues in this from policy down. I also saw in the newspaper today that there was only one stair case, with some exceptions dating from the early 70s, all the high rises here have two.
     
  4. formby

    formby Well-Known Member

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    Well, it has to be CE marked to sell it, so it will have to comply with the relevant standards.

    A few thoughts:

    I caught an illustration yesterday where the cladding was being used to clamp insulation to the building, so what has caught fire first, the insulation, the cladding or both?

    One, of many concerns here, and it relates to the bit I snipped out of FXH's post is that there seems to be a lack of knowledge throughout the chain, the inspectors don't seem to know what they are doing which is very worrying. Why is this?

    All of this will come out in due course.
     
  5. formby

    formby Well-Known Member

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    The building dates from the 70s so the need for a secondary egress wasn't a requirement in the then building regs.

    To add them at the time of refurbishment would have required a large amount of structural engineering work and it would probably have been cheaper to drop the building. When you factor in the number of buildings which would need to be modernized it impacts on building availability in an already crowded city. Then you have the cost, the availability of companies to do the work, the expertise &c.

    There aren't enough new properties being built in Britain, [for some of the reasons mentioned in the preceding paragraph] and when you couple this with the laissez-faire approach to immigration of the last decade or so, the later exacerbates the problems caused by the former.

    This is an unavoidable, and an uncomfortable truth.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
  6. Monkeyface

    Monkeyface Monochromatic Clothing Troll Supporter

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    I'd say the cause of the fire is less relevant than the rapid spreading of the fire in this case. While prevention is important, fires are going to happen one way or another, what happens after that is important. Will the fire be contained to the single unit, or will it engulf the entire building in a few minutes?

    The dead toll continues to rise, and it's at 58 at the moment. Maybe some of the money spent on monitoring our internet in the name of preventing terrorism could be used to increase fire safety instead?

    My airbnb is in a council estate, and it's a real death trap. Only one tiny staircase, no elevators, 5 stories high. No sprinklers, no fire alarms, no fire extinguishers, no fire doors. It's also just a horribly ugly building, and hasn't been maintained since it was built. Super low ceilings, I have to duck to go through the door. It's like a hobbit hole. And they charge 3 grand a month for it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
  7. Scherensammler

    Scherensammler Well-Known Member

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    Is that still in the UK or already in the US?
    Perhaps it's different in Scotland, but all houses need to be fitted with smoke alarms that are also powered via electric mains, not just battery. I also got a CO2 alarm near my gas boiler, though I'm not sure it's in the right place.
    UK real estate descriptions are useless. "1,2 or 3 bedroom" doesn't say anything about their actual size. And the build quality in general is pretty poor, especially with council houses.
    I doubt the "qualifications" of the people who do the construction jobs. Always feels like they do it as quickly as they can get away with it.
    An ex-colleague of mine had a job where his only task was to make sure the Russian and Polish "builders" did some work and weren't drinking all day.
     
  8. OP
    OP
    Fwiffo

    Fwiffo Well-Known Member Supporter

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    2018 Queen's Speech cancelled because of Brexit

    "There will be no Queen's Speech next year to give MPs more time to deal with Brexit laws, the government says."

    Does anyone recognise the irony of the Tory party cancelling the Queen's Speech?
     
  9. Lord Buckley

    Lord Buckley Well-Known Member

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    With statutory inspections you're getting a very rigid procedural inspection: tick boxes and a paragraph worth of narrative for the design engineers back in the office. And that's all you're getting: code compliance only with all those extras to your technical and safety requirements above and beyond not surveyed. So critical safety aspects and process requirements can and often are missed.

    I deal with this issue a lot in my line of work, some equipment is not fit for purpose and we get someone in procurement asking how can it be, as it passed the statutory code compliance by the classification body? That's rarely enough and doesn't meet the technical requisition in the purchase order by several critical requirements.

    I imagine it's no different in the building world.

    London....no one has yet satisfactory sold it to me yet.

    A lot of the council houses in my home town built in the early to mid-60s are really excellent quality, well built and quite spacious. The problem arises with who your next door neighbour is. Not a problem back then, but now.
     
  10. Monkeyface

    Monkeyface Monochromatic Clothing Troll Supporter

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    That's in the U.K. of course. There are no hobbits in the US, everyone knows that.
     
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  11. Monkeyface

    Monkeyface Monochromatic Clothing Troll Supporter

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    The one I'm staying at is very folksy. Neighbors having discussions spanning 5 floors while hanging out their windows, tatted up bellies bulging over the window sills. Growing community "gardens" in the tiny hallways. Front doors always open. You get the picture.

    The community feeling has it appeals, but it's also bloody annoying when you want some peace and quiet at night, which is usually when they tend to get rowdy after having had one too many cans of lager. Why don't they just meet in one of their living rooms? Oh, that's right, these flats don't have living rooms. Why don't they meet in the pub? Can't afford it of course.

    I have no idea why anyone would romanticise this kind of lifestyle, which is exactly what you're doing. This estate is like a time machine, and let me tell you, things weren't better in the past.

    I'm counting the days till I can leave the 1970s and return to the 21st century.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
  12. Scherensammler

    Scherensammler Well-Known Member

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    FTFY!
     
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  13. Lord Buckley

    Lord Buckley Well-Known Member

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    The original council housing from the 1930's onwards was a massive step-up for people. The council housing I am talking about is proper houses not flats. They had a large living room, dining room, pantry/galley kitchen. 3 bedrooms, master bedroom massive, other two of reasonable size with a separate toilet from the bathroom. Very liveable with a big back garden. Much, much larger and better built than the semi-detached housing on private estates built from the early 70s - early 90s in the UK.

    I don't need to romanticise the quality of the housing or the size of the living space. It was good and adequate for a 2 kid family with parents.

    People don't get it, and even here some don't get it, the well planned middle class tree lined suburb beats the city hands down on all standard of livings measurements, with the exception of the commute.
     
  14. Lord Buckley

    Lord Buckley Well-Known Member

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    Meanwhile, I see that Corbyn is pushing to requisition properties in London, I wonder if the Jewish property will come first? We've been here before, in 1930s Germany and before that Russia after the revolution.

    I was speaking to someone from our UK office last week and was telling me his son who is 26, with a Master's in History and going back to do teacher's training is utterly enthralled with the Corbyn cult of freebies and the great socialist state. He fears there will be another election before Christmas and that Corbyn will get in.

    A Venezuelan style state in the UK, would perhaps be the only reason I would take nationality here, but before that, I would choose to join the resistance with every might and support I could muster.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
  15. Monkeyface

    Monkeyface Monochromatic Clothing Troll Supporter

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    You're being a drama queen again. Calm down, sit back, relax, have a G&T. None of this will happen and you certainly won't have to join a "resistance".
     
  16. Lord Buckley

    Lord Buckley Well-Known Member

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    I sincerely hope so, but when it comes to Corbyn and the McDonnell gang and the weaponizing of the mob - anything is possible. Better to plan for the worse: a communist takeover and act accordingly. This is not the UK of the past.
     
  17. Scherensammler

    Scherensammler Well-Known Member

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    There will be agitators amongst the "victims" right now. I don't recall people in other countries "demanding" more than what they get after a disaster. It's quite common to be placed in some sort of shelter first and then move on.
    Did they expect to be put in a fancy hotel?
    When our house burned down (thanks to arson) we stayed at neighbours until we found a place to rent. Can't they do the same?
    I'm also worried about the implications for the rescue services if this "racism" narrative continues and they have to make a choice who to rescue.
     
  18. Lord Buckley

    Lord Buckley Well-Known Member

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    I haven't come across any racist narrative in anything I've read and from what can be discerned in the newspapers, the fire service behaved bravely and did their duty to save life in the inferno where they found it. What is being spun is the rich vs the poor trope. Lives were saved on the immediacy: here's someone, let's get them out. Some firemen were assigned to go to specific apartments, but were meeting people in the smoke filled stairway and had to make the decision to save them now, before the possibility that those several flights up might possibly still be alive.

    The fire service is a strange profession: under-paid, under-used, but when the time arrives, might only be one time in their career, might never happen, but in the one freak and desperate event they are needed in force , their skills and professionalism is worth more than any lawyer at several hundred pounds an hour.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2017
  19. Scherensammler

    Scherensammler Well-Known Member

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    Not in this specific event.
    True, but the latter will come in handy when the commies try to confiscate your property...
     
  20. Monkeyface

    Monkeyface Monochromatic Clothing Troll Supporter

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    The fire services get paid really well, at least in the US.
     
  21. Lord Buckley

    Lord Buckley Well-Known Member

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    Point taken.

    The pay is crap in the UK, they get plenty of time off on a 4 day on/4 day off rotation though. At least it was. But they're still the one's cutting dead bodies out of car wrecks.

    Paramedics are paid better, not by much.
     
  22. formby

    formby Well-Known Member

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    The engineers / architects should specify the correct product for the job, with specialist input if and as required, and inspection / goods-in should make sure that it is compliant.
     
  23. fxh

    fxh OG Party Suit Wearer Supporter

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    Firies (Oz term) get paid a fortune here to do sweet fuck all most of the time
     
  24. fxh

    fxh OG Party Suit Wearer Supporter

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    Compliance is a forged/faked/dodgy certificate from Chinese Manufacturers. Inspectors have been privatised and now are paid for by builders/developers. Guess whose bidding they do. Politicians "Getting rid of red tape to enable entrepreneurs" have abolished independent inspections. Melbourne is just waiting for a Grenfell.
     
  25. fxh

    fxh OG Party Suit Wearer Supporter

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    Townhouses at risk of collapse after excavation pit subsides in Mount Waverley Aisha Dow and Marissa Calligeros - 2015
    The surveyor linked to a crumbling construction pit in Mount Waverley also issued building permits for a Docklands apartment complex which was fitted with flammable cladding.

    Two townhouses are teetering on the edge of a 15-metre deep excavation pit, which began caving in on Wednesday. The homes may need to be demolished, authorities say.


    Excavation collapse leaves homes on the edge
    RAW VISION: aerial vision from Thursday reveals the extent of the collapsing excavation pit that has led to the evacuation of two homes in Burwood. (Vision courtesy Seven News Melbourne)

    The block of land alongside the townhouses was being excavated to make way for a $5.5 million medical and childcare centre with a basement car park.

    Fairfax Media has learned that the surveyor, the Gardner Group, issued the building permit for the construction site.
    [​IMG]
    The Mount Waverley site after a further collapse on Thursday morning. Photo: Jesse Marlow
    The same surveyor is being investigated by the Victorian Building Authority for its involvement in another major construction failure, the installation of non-compliant cladding on a Docklands apartment building that caught fire last November.

    A report by Melbourne City Council names the Gardner Group as the private surveyor, which issued the building permits for the Lacrosse apartment building.

    It has been found that flammable cladding was installed on the facade of the apartment tower, fuelling the massive blaze, which was sparked by a cigarette.

    Gardner Group declined to comment on Thursday.
    [​IMG]
    The Mount Waverley townhouses teeter on the edge of the construction site. Photo: Jesse Marlow
    The 14 university students who live at the Mount Waverley townhouses have had to move into a nearby hotel, at the expense of the developer, as authorities try to stabilise the walls of the pit.

    Police closed roads around the collapsing site on Thursday afternoon, amid fears motorists could be put at risk from more landslips.
    [​IMG]
    The townhouses on Highbury Road in Mount Waverley. Photo: Joe Armao
    A 48-hour emergency order has also been put in place at the site, which is being managed by Victoria Police.

    Experts have questioned how the monster hole at the site was created and have called for widespread reforms to the building industry.

    Gerry Ayers, the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union's occupational health and safety manager, said the Mount Waverley construction site showed almost "a flippant disregard for the safety of both workers and the public".

    Dr Ayers said that in a similar excavation, walls would be secured with rock anchors and sprayed with concrete.

    "That helps retain the walls and the stability and structural integrity, so what has occurred doesn't occur," Dr Ayers said.
     
  26. Lord Buckley

    Lord Buckley Well-Known Member

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    Most of the products destined for the EU will have type and batch testing at internationally owned testing laboratories in China and the EU. Likely these products, if sourced from China, passed the multiple tests both in China and the EU. My understanding is that the cladding was manufactured in France?

    But yes, not much you can do if there is only a certificate review and the test results are faked and signed-off by the suitably qualified representatives.

    Good inspectors who work in the building industry would also now if a cladding was illegal on buildings over 10 meters and would, if they were doing their job, have raised this as a non-conformance - even if the engineers and/or procurement had deliberately specified and ordered it - or if a statutory inspection rejected the work outright.

    It strikes me as four likely scenarios (i) the whole policy of improving/meeting EU environmental targets and legislation with plastic cladding has been flawed from the beginning; (ii) design or engineering cock-up subsequently not questioned or picked-up by several parties; (iii) actually the cladding is sound in perfect testing conditions, but if imperfectly installed, short-cuts taken in installation to save time, they become highly volatile when lit; (iv) a dodgy tender process with the technical requirements raised high, whilst the already chosen contractor comes in with a much lower bid based on products below specification.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  27. Lord Buckley

    Lord Buckley Well-Known Member

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    Last edited: Jun 19, 2017
  28. Lord Buckley

    Lord Buckley Well-Known Member

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    Word on the street is that Corbyn's and McDonnell's mob are planning on disrupting the State Opening of Parliament on Wednesday in an attempt to bring down the government forcing an election and ushering in the Communist state. Absolutely plausible.
     
  29. Monkeyface

    Monkeyface Monochromatic Clothing Troll Supporter

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    I hope not. I need some stability in Sterling for the next few months.
     
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  30. Monkeyface

    Monkeyface Monochromatic Clothing Troll Supporter

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    Hammond now says the UK won't shut down immigration, just reduce it a little. So it was all for naught. If they wanted to reduce immigration, they could've just halted most non-EU immigrants, who make up 50% of total immigration. No need to exit to the EU to do that.
     
  31. Lord Buckley

    Lord Buckley Well-Known Member

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    I've a GBP account I'm keeping a watchful eye on. Any chance that the Commies are going to takeover or get-in, I will change immediately.

    Sovereignty dear boy, sovereignty. That's the issue!
     
  32. Monkeyface

    Monkeyface Monochromatic Clothing Troll Supporter

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    But do you really trust bumbling Boris or weak and wobbly May with that sovereignty? You have to admit that the current administration is one of the most incompetent in recent memory, and the alternative on the left isn't very appealing either.

    And that's without taking into consideration that May is willing to risk the Good Friday Agreement just to stay in power.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
  33. Lord Buckley

    Lord Buckley Well-Known Member

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    I'm a Jacob Rees-Mogg man myself:

    nintchdbpict000328763453.jpg
     
  34. Monkeyface

    Monkeyface Monochromatic Clothing Troll Supporter

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    Looks like a creep
     
  35. Lord Buckley

    Lord Buckley Well-Known Member

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    No, he's exactly the man you would want holding your back, sangfroid, stature and gravitas in abundance:







    He's probably too erudite for our diminished times. He's also a toff, but a toff who is able to speak to everyone at their level. Would like to see him on the front bench or as PM one day soon.
     
  36. Lord Buckley

    Lord Buckley Well-Known Member

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    According to The Daily Mail, this is the insulation part of the cladding, Celotex RS5000, details and datasheet here, also suitable for buildings above 18 metres:

    https://www.celotex.co.uk/products/rs5000

    Note: Class 0 fire rating, which is a high level of protection of combustibility and spread of surface flame in accordance with Class 1 of BS 476 Part 6 and 7. This refers to "the complete assembly of materials as installed" must have a flame spread "after 1.5 and 10 minutes of less than 165mm." So the complete cladding piece must have been sufficiently fire retardant to avoid the tragedy.

    Possibility: this was not actually installed. As the bottom cladding is still in place the investigators will likely soon be able to confirm this, whether the contractors have shredded documents or not.

    But hang on a minute, the Declaration of Performance has for "Durability of reaction to fire against heat....." as No Performance Determined. That does not appear to be aligned against code BS 476.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
  37. formby

    formby Well-Known Member

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    Without crawling over the standards for both these products its difficult to come to any conclusion, you also need other info like installation drawings, quality plans and associated documentation, sign offs &c.

    What's annoyed me, is the politicisation of the tragedy, it is not helpful.
     
  38. Scherensammler

    Scherensammler Well-Known Member

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    Really?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-40339331


    So instead of bringing immigration down they now want to "manage" but not entirely stop it. How does bringing in more (mostly unskilled) workers into the UK make the British people richer? By bringing down the average wage even more and have more self-employed workers while at the same time handing out big benefits to those who don't work?
     
  39. Lord Buckley

    Lord Buckley Well-Known Member

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    You're right, but from my very tentative overview, there does appear some gaps in what the codes call for and what is being provided.

    Corbyn's mob are politicizing this for they're desperate old men going places and they will weaponize anything and everything to bring down May, usher in another election and the Socialist/Communist state in the UK. They haven't got 10 or 20 years, they're betting everything on the role of a dice, because they have sod all to lose and everything to gain in the glory of the revolution they could pull off. If they fail, it's no skin of their back, they've been failures all their life, but to get this chance so late in their careers. It's too much not to take.

    Expect chaos and disorder tomorrow, 21st June and onwards throughout the summer.