It would be totally irresponsible to categorically state, as have quite a number of observers (most of whom have never come within fifty miles of a high-rise tower block); that the actual cause of the fire which took hold so catastrophically around, and tragically inside, that Grenfell Tower block: is known with any degree of certainty! I posted on the fire very shortly after I saw the first pix, and opined that there were similarities between Grenfell and the fiery tower in Dubai. Along with many other responsible commentators, I refrained from further comment upon the causes, but took note of both the shambolic early responses from the Council, and of course the weaponising statements from Corbyn and his many outriders. I also noted the shambolic attitude to the BRE Testing process, where they stripped away the actual cladding outer cover, and just subjected the inner filling to a fire test; without any actual idea whether that test was factual.
As the story-line progressed, i.e. Tory-led Council bad; everyone else good, I thought I would take a step or two back and gaze at some criteria for the testing of the cladding ‘system’ as a whole, and; ultimately, whose testing regulations ruled during the bidding and compliance periods. At this point, I would urge readers to ignore the anguished screams from David Lammy, the loose-lipped MP. He may have lost a ‘talented friend’ in the blaze, but a building, construction and fire-risk expert he ain’t. Fresh from tweeting that ‘there was a cover-up’ as regards the numbers of actual dead; he then denies he ever attempted to spark a riot! He is just the same as the rest of us ignorant peasants, relying as we HAVE TO on EU Regulations for our safety and well-being.
That last sentence, folks, will come out more and more as the days, weeks and indeed months wear on before we hear the last of the Grenfell Tower travails. Can you even imagine a construction company, eager as they may well have been to accommodate the Council’s call for ever-more savings during the refurbishment process, placing something on the outside which did not conform to the Regulations? The ruling EU Regulation is, as viewed by many knowledgeable commenters, wide open to interpretation. The BRE had already devised a new British standard, BS 8414, which the MPs recommended should replace the wholly inadequate EN 13501. But the latter had come from the EU, which makes it both mandatory, and extremely difficult to revise. So, under EU law, the new British standard could only therefore be a voluntary option.
When British officials travelled to Brussels to engage with the EU bureaucracy, they brought the British (BS 8414) offer along, but one politician, who was destined to lead the negotiations, was more concerned with the insulating properties than, presumably, fire risk; and in order to further impress the local yokels, John Prescott signed up only with new regulations to improve insulation required under the EU’s Energy Performance of Buildings directive. This was designed to comply with the Kyoto Protocol on global warming (signed for the UK by Prescott in 1997).
So next time you read of how Labour’s John Mcdonnell, or any of HIS lackeys and sidekicks commence aiming their verbal barbs at the ‘Wealthy Tories, and their snivelling attitudes towards the poor-downtrodden masses’; just remember who signed off on those Regulations!