Ask any tradesman, Architect, builder, plumber, electrician, gas technician. Anyone that works then the building industry, they will tell you the same thing. For whatever reason, fires can occur, and after the Grenfell tower, that claimed the lives of over 70 people, and left hundreds homeless, the shocking truths that have come out are stacking up.
One of the more expensive regenerations in Manchester, the Chips building, had its panelling stripped in the aftermath of the tragedy, and clearly branded onto the back of the cladding was ‘NON FIRE RETARDENT’. Basically meaning, it was a fire risk and really should have only been used to clad a Barbie house.
To add insult to injury, it was still given the go ahead by a private inspector, who obviously was more inclined to line his own pocket than to ensure the safety of the tenants living at the development. Then, to make matters worse, the bill to have 24/7 fire wardens on site to keep the building running, has had the £175,000 bill passed on to the owners.
One tenant who wished not to be name that although they’re ‘shocked, in all honesty they are glad to know as it gives more reason for them not to pay the £175,000 bill’ that was issued in December 2017.
So what do we do now? Building regulations do change over time, however, only a complete idiot would have a block of flats clad in non fire resistant materials, knowing that putting a fire out would be near impossible due to the fact the cladding is a good 6 inches away from the original wall, meaning that if fire broke out, the only way to get to the fire is to use helicopters to try and douse the flames, while the interior of the building would be like an oven or incinerator, getting hotter and hotter as the panelling went up.
The only solution really, is to re-clad the entire building, or at the very least, brick over the exterior so there is no chance of another tragedy happening again, Manchester has had enough tragedies in the last few year, the last thing they need or want is another one.
Also, how was the HSE (Health and Safety Executive not a part of the process of ensuring that the building was safe to inhabit. Would they want their parents/children/grandchildren/friends/partners living in such a dangerous building?
It’s like when my grandmother sought social housing 10 years ago. The council showed her a pokey flat on the second story (my grandmother has bad hips and knees) on a rundown council estate where drugs are rife, teenage thugs run around with knives and children as young as ten or lower already have a vocabulary to rival Roy Chubby Brown.
The first thing that we all asked was ‘would you want your 80 year old living here? Never mind the stairs that she’d never get up, but her safety would have been at risk’.