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SALFORD TOWER BLOCK EXPOSED INSULATION COULD IMPACT FIRE INTEGRITY OF THE BUILDING
 

Star date: 30th June 2017

TOTAL CONFUSION REIGNS OVER CLADDING AND INSULATION AS GOVERNMENT PANEL ISSUES NEW STATEMENT

With aluminium panels being removed and insulation hanging off Salford tower blocks, the Government's Independent Expert Advisory Panel has issued a new edict, stating removal of panels could have an "impact...on the other wall elements, especially insulation, and therefore on the overall fire integrity of the building".

This follows a statement this morning by Local Government Association chair, Lord Porter, who said "We should be testing the insulation. There is more than a good chance that the insulation is probably the main problem." It's all an absolute mess.

Full details here...


Salix Homes letter to Canon Hussey residents Pendleton panels removed Pendleton panels removed
CIH Housing 2017 Grenfell Tower session
click image to enlarge

Last weekend and throughout this week, there has been a rush to remove Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) panels from Salford tower blocks as, day by day, 24 Salford tower blocks, from Eccles to Blackfriars and Pendleton, failed new Government fire tests.

After the initial reaction, work to remove panels has slowed leaving insulation underneath totally exposed in some blocks.

All week, residents have been switching their focus to the insulation, wondering how fire-safe it is, and, this morning, Lord Porter, chair of the Local Government Association, kind of agreed...

"The Government has not done the re-test properly" he said "They are not testing the whole system. We should be testing the insulation. There is more than a good chance that the insulation is probably the main problem."

In response, the Government's Independent Expert Advisory Panel issued a new statement, which seemed to be advising that the ACM panels can now stay on "under certain approved circumstances", and that removing them could have an impact "on the overall fire integrity of the building". The full statement reads...

"The Panel will engage with experts across the country to consider whether these panels can be used safely as part of a wider building external wall system, and therefore could remain on a building under certain approved circumstances.

"If, in the meantime, a landlord chooses to take down and replace cladding, care should be taken to consider the impact that removal may have on the other wall elements, especially insulation, and therefore on the overall fire integrity of the building as well as other Building Regulation requirements."

Salix Homes, this afternoon, issued a letter to residents at Canon Hussey Court, stating that it will now replace panels as they are taken down (see photo) but no-one really seems to know what is safe and what isn't.

This afternoon the Salford Star spoke to Salford City Council's new 'fire tsar', Councillor John Merry, who hadn't seen the new statement from the Expert Panel...

"The original advice we got was to remove the panels and we immediately ordered that the panels be removed" he said "...I am absolutely in no doubt that the strategy we're following of removing the panels and replacing them is right for the welfare of individuals, and the safety of residents is paramount.

"When I see that advice we will study it and see if it is applicable to Salford" he added "I don't think residents will be particularly happy if we stop what we're doing now and leave them in limbo. The insulation we've got will be covered up to protect it and the information we've got is that it qualifies.

"The advice we've been given from Government has been contradictory at times" he explained "...As far as we're concerned we're now going to invest in a cladding that is safe and obviously there might be some delay in re-cladding all the blocks..." 

The Salford Star has asked for a comment from Greater Manchester Fire Service on the Expert Panel statement and is still awaiting a response.


* Yesterday, the Salford Star attended a special session on the 'response to the Grenfell tragedy' at the Housing 2017 conference hosted by the Chartered Institute of Housing at Manchester Conference Centre.

Here, David Montague, chief exec of L&Q, a southern developer, argued that removing ACM panels was a "knee-jerk reaction" and that what was underneath could be worse.

Sam Webb, an architect who currently sits on the All Party Parliamentary Fire and Rescue Group, and who was an expert witness for families at the inquest for the Lakanal House fire of 2009 in which six people died, told the audience "what should be tested is the whole installation that goes on the outside of the building not individual elements".

He added that the first London Building Act was passed in 1667, written by Christopher Wren, and designed to prevent fire... "It was laid down that external walls of buildings were to be of bricks, stone, stucco, riveted tiles or slate to prevent fire spread" he explained "This Act lasted until the mid-1980s when Greater London Council was abolished by Margaret Thatcher...

"We've deregulated everything" he added "...It's gone. You can have self regulation...MPs talk about bonfires of red tape; well it's led to Grenfell Tower...

"We are at a turning point" he insisted "Nothing can be the same again. This is a world scale disaster...on a Titanic scale and we all need to re-think and change our attitudes."


See also previous related Salford Star articles...

Seven More Salford Tower Blocks To Have Cladding Stripped click here

Potentially Toxic Cladding In Over A Dozen Salford Tower Blocks click here

Salford Image Obsession and Cladding Unveiled click here

Salix Homes to Strip Cladding From Salford Tower Blocks - click here

Michael James Felse wrote
at 07:19:10 on 04 July 2017
Ray be sure we who stood against Mr Stewart in the Mayoral run know Cllr Garrido to be highly skilled and an asset to community. All I say is put party differences aside and show we can all work together to solve these extreme problems.

Rayofsunshine wrote
at 14:19:45 on 03 July 2017
More Corporatist Nonesence from Arch Creep, Michael J. False. The bald fact of the matter is Coun Garrido can't hack it intellectually! The current political leadership of the city is adequately equipped to address the issue of tower block safety.

Michael James Felse wrote
at 10:04:23 on 03 July 2017
I thank Mayor Paul Dennett on taking his quick action on tower blocks. I urge him to appoint Councillor Karen Garrido into the Deputy Mayor role showing the time has come for across party lines on such important things.

Dave wrote
at 21:06:25 on 02 July 2017
18.42 just on BBC. Its official ,we have won. Salford has the most balls up tower blocks in the country. One in seven of these deathtraps in our city. Well done Salford housing providers city west , salix and pendleton together .Well done Salford Clowncil. When will the people in Salford see fit to get shut of these people They are a disgrace.

Bob Chadwick wrote
at 18:43:40 on 02 July 2017
The answer will be, we cannot tell you because that is commercially sensitive. Bollocks. The cladding trade in this country is finished no matter how good the product. The question, how much did this cladding cost including the scaffold.the stories going round are that the people who sold these cladding systems are a bit like the double glazing people. If you are a mug ,they take you to the cleaners. Apparantly what they do, is ask the mugs how much they have in the "budshit". The mugs then tell them, and the cladding salesmen then take the piss.Of course they are not going to say how much they paid, they know they have been conned and wasted all their money. Nobody likes to admit they have been a mug do they.

Dave wrote
at 08:01:39 on 02 July 2017
Can I just ask , with what does fireman Merry propose to cover this exposed insulation with? A nice bit of waterproof plastic sheeting perhaps? Can he think of anything waterproof that doesn't burn well. I can't.

wrote
at 04:52:28 on 01 July 2017
Can you let Merry join the Salford Star? Then he would be the "twisted Fire Star Tsar" . Now when hav Salford council ever left a community in Limbo? Hmmm. With the council it is all just words and balm until something serious happens. We will hear the same thing the next time the Irwell floods.

Wendy Cockcroft wrote
at 20:32:21 on 30 June 2017
I was at the meeting last night. The cladding, etc., was fully compliant with existing regulations. Apparently, the regulations themselves weren't fit for purpose. They're a bit cagey about the insulation (they've not heard that there's anything to worry about) but something has occurred to me: what about the lightning protection system? Imagine tens of thousands of volts streaming down a copper strip surrounded by possibly flammable insulation and definitely flammable cladding. When they install the new system they will have to take that into account.

Milk Float wrote
at 19:02:38 on 30 June 2017
Qualifies and Compliance are to different words entirely , any idiot can say that a material qualifies that it not a legal term i am used to when it used to describe a material or an aspect of a job it either is compliant or it isn't ....Qualifies isn't a term that's used to sign a job off it would be good if we can Mr Merry to issue a statement to wether the the insulation used is fire retardent and is fully compliant to the regulations at the time of installation when that part of the job was signed off

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