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Discussion > Grenfell Tower - Deadly Fires: Mismanagement, or just no managers present

Jun 17, 2017 at 9:51 PM by tomo

There are quite a few comments underneath the original twelve statements, some of which question their truthfulness. They may have a point, but I can see for example that the response for No 12 only calls for more investigation. Yes, it would have been better to have had some dates to show that, yes, she was on the board, but had "... resigned from the board long before Refurb was passed", all allegedly.

12 Emma Coad elected Labour MP was on the board of the Tenant Management group who are being accused of not listening to tenants.

But even though she wasn't on the board during the 'critical years', unless she left the neighbourhood and had not left a phone number, she could easily have help those protesting at the board's incompetence. It is what many people do when they retire from a committee: they don't want to get involved, but are willing to support and advise the potential complainants on the best course of action. It reduces wasted resources all round. So, still worth following up.

And statement 12 is true, which is much more than what is called News and Current Affairs. Propagating the narrative that Theresa May is responsible for everything that has gone wrong only demeans journalism.

What is of interest is the position of the KCTMO. In many areas of the country, council housing has been transferred from council ownership to other organisations. In one such local example, for me, it is a Housing Association. My impression (and I may be wrong) is that any problems with the housing are for the Housing Association to sort out: all responsibility has been transferred. Whether the Housing Association was given the land, paid for it in full or for a nominal sum, whether they now own the title to the land, or own the land as long as they provide social house, or something else, I don't know now. In fact, I have forgotten, but I remember that the goal was to allow the council to get on with what they were elected to do: serve the public, those who they represent, and not a small section of that group.

So, what is the exact status the KCTMO, as that does appear central to many of the statements and questions arising? Is it the same, or is it different? Until we answer that, the 'responsibility trail' cannot start.

In fact, what about all those twelve statements and the others that have been generated from the posts below the article? The answers to many of these fundamentally shape the analysis of the problem, but are themselves very political in nature, if you are micro-triggered by the truth.

Is that why we haven't seen clear analysis in the MSM, with all their highly paid, analytically minded, 'story seeking' journalists? If there are answers, please post them here. What is needed are definitive answers: (definitive - decisively and with authority, that is official, not the 'view of a journalist'!)

Yes, we need to give care to those directly affected, but answering, unambiguously, some of these questions raised would at least dampen down the hysterical responses that we have seen on the TV and so speed the progress towards solutions to the many different issues that have been highlighted.

It still seems too early to be looking at this disaster in the cold light of day, but I have needed to do it because it has been treated in the media very superficially. Anger has been directed at people with no direct responsibility for what has happened and could not have done anything to stop it without evidence and support from the community. Politicians are being sentenced without a trial, without any cross examination, without laying out the facts so they could be verified and understood, and without getting a report from a professionally qualified source. Agenda Warriors have driven the story and everyone else is too frightened to stand up to them. It is a rushed job to hide the truth. (Now read this paragraph again and compare it to Climate Change Science!)

If the KCTMO was emulating a privately owned block of flats, should the assumption be that the public sector, No 10 in fact, should be ready to provide everything when disaster strikes, and submerged in total guilt, of course!

For anyone living in their own (or mortgaged) home, would a devastating house fire mean that the council would provide everything before the day was out? I think not. I would consider being put up for a week in temporary accommodation, not knowing where I would end up eventually, as a success! If my homeless neighbours, from the 'other semi' were in different lodgings, so what! As long as I (and they) were clothed, fed, and had a roof over our heads, some company, and was getting any medical treatment needed, what else could I ask for in the short term, that was sensible?

OK, it's a bigger disaster than a pair of semis, but we do need to work out what should be expected. That void, that lack of constructive goals means dysfunctionality on a grand scale including who is carrying all that risk.

While there have been many volunteer helpers, there have been complaints that there has been little coordination. Shouldn't that be provided by a local council, not No 10 ? I don't know which one it would be, but local councils have local knowledge! Government may provide the extra resources, but I would have expected that to be arranged between the Government and the local council who would know where it should be spent, hopefully!

Jun 18, 2017 at 12:12 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Jun 18, 2017 at 10:42 AM | Radical Rodent

Agreed! Most Fire Hydrants are just part of large water mains pipework, with a connector for the Fire and Rescue Services to link to. Their pumps then do the rest from the outside of the building. Fire and Rescue Services can not run up high-rise internal staircases, dragging hoses with them, hence "Dry Risers", so they can plug in a shorter length of hose at any level, delivering water from the Fire Engine Pump.

Spraying water from the outside, only extinguishes fires if the water can get to what is burning. Spraying water onto flames reduces heat and spread, but does not extinguish.This is normally done externally from the roof down, or via window openings.

I/"we" do not know whether Fire Officers were able to gain significant access within, and up the inside of the building.

I am not disputing the concept of sprinkler systems. I know they work.To do their job, they need to work without intervention by a knowledgeable person

Jun 18, 2017 at 1:31 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Do we know whether the building had a valid fire certificate?

If so, was all relevant information presented beforehand?

If so, was the paperwork checked, by looking at the building, the fittings?

Shouldn't it be the building insurance paying out immediate living costs to the survivors, or wasn't there any?

To me, it looks like a can of worms, on steroids.

Jun 18, 2017 at 2:14 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Looking at my county councils emergency planning web page:
http://www3.hants.gov.uk/emergencyplanning/emergencyplanningwhatwedo/restcentres.htm

shows that they have already identified which community assets could be used for any emergency within their area of responsibility:

School Halls,
Community Centres,
Leisure Centres,
Church Halls.
Other Community Venues.

to be manned by a range of volunteers from:

British Red Cross,
St John Ambulance,
WRVS,
The Salvation Army,
RAYNET (Radio Amateurs Emergency Network).

Some of these groups were mentioned in the press operating in London, so it sound like they had their emergency plan in operation.

I am not sure what is going on. I would not like to think it is a 'momentum' thing, scoring political points from others distress and suffering but the media torrent has been wholly negative against central government.

Jun 18, 2017 at 2:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Richards

Did the tower need a fire certificate? Has the law changed? If so, how, when and by whom?

And what about the minutes of the KCTMO and the various the council meetings: they should reveal who was involved and how the decisions were made and what they were. I would have thought that the discussions would have been over a few years at least and have left a paper trail.

If they cannot do that, why take minutes? I would also have thought that there would have been some official building inspection before the building was deemed fit for use, and I would have thought that would be overseen by the public sector, so there should be records somewhere.

Still it's early days, but I cannot see how such basic information can be withheld for weeks or months as the assumptions made by the agitators have swamped out any constructive news coverage.

Jun 18, 2017 at 2:57 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

I would like to propose a new law, lets call it Public Sector Transparency: accountability in public sector transactions.

Its aim would be to stop corrupt or incompetent practices, both in procurement and operations within all areas of public sector involvement.

Area of coverage: councils, schools, colleges, universities, quangos, and any other publicly funded body or organisation financed in whole or in part by public money.

What is required to be transparent:

Planning, purchasing, buying, selling, disposal, hiring, firing, remuneration;
running, operating.

Examples:

When issuing an invitation to tender, state that on award of contract to the successful bidder, all documents from all tenders submitted will be published on the bodies website the same day as contract award.

this is to stop predatory companies (or corrupt public servants) from profiting at the tax payers expense.

If companies do not like this due to fears of loss of confidentiality, then don't bid. There are lots of decent companies that will.

The NHS to publish its buying prices for drugs and consumables to enable easy comparison and prevent companies from say "this is my best price do not tell anyone..."

Reports commissioned about fire safety WITHHELD for spurious reasons - publish them on a bodies website on receipt.

Public money paid for these reports, lets get them out where they can do most good.

And so on. There are many examples where bodies funded by the taxpayer keep information secret for not very good reasons.

Have a look at your own local or county council website copy of their accounts, you will see many entries 'withheld' due to someone wanted a contract or payment to themselves or their company to be kept secret from those who paid.

Its time to clean this mess up.

Jun 18, 2017 at 3:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Richards

Ravishing Rattie, Gwen. I doubt if PCar is a contraction of Picard, because some time ago, when PCar and I were still civil, I suggested he might be half a starship captain, and his response definitely implied it took him a time to understand.

Jun 18, 2017 at 3:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Jun 18, 2017 at 3:16 PM | Supertroll

What was the Number Plate painted down the sides of Jean Luc Picard's USS Enterprise?

Jun 18, 2017 at 5:53 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Gwen. Yes PCar made reference to NCC-1701, which I knew was a non-de-blog, but I never understood the connection. Are you implying PCar and NCC-1701 are one and the same?

Jun 18, 2017 at 6:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Shouldn't it be the building insurance paying out immediate living costs to the survivors, or wasn't there any?

To me, it looks like a can of worms, on steroids.

Jun 18, 2017 at 2:14 PM | Robert Christopher

Normally a Building's Owner insures the building, and tenants are responsible for their own contents. Normally both Buildings and Contents Insurers will split the cost of alternative accommodation.

There may not be any requirement for tenants to have Contents Insurance.

Some Local Authorities "self-insure".

I doubt that the survivors will have had access to the building, to retrieve insurance details, even if they are retrievable.

It would seem that many residents may have had no Contents Insurance. If they were Tenants of KCTMO, there would normally be some form of obligation to rehouse tenants. But where?

Outfits like KCTMO are unlikely to be staffed with personnel experienced in crisis management on this scale. This is a statement, not a criticsm singling out KCTMO

Jun 18, 2017 at 7:56 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

re: Fire Certificates.

I know that outside London a building with any indoor communal areas (not sure if that covers stairwells and corridors) requires a fire inspection + certificate.

London is a different legislative proposition in many areas.

@Robert Christopher

The claims all require X-checking - but I don't for a millisecond trust the MSM to get that right . There are loads of spitting lefties out on Twitter - maybe that's why mob at Downing Street has gone quiet / melted a bit? None of the claims up to now that I've seen have linked to independent evidence - not good.

There are some arses twitching in this matter - smoke and mirrors are being deployed as well as decoys....


Housing Associations? eesh... there's a can o worms that's more like a ripe can of Surströmming.

Distorted accounting that lets incompetent and self serving goons pamper themselves from the difference between build cost (30 years + ago) and present value - all in a not for profit quasi-charitable oddball way... Down my way (Wiltshire) they're building £200K + "affordable" homes on free plots from their chums on the council and feasting on S106 provisions.

Jun 18, 2017 at 8:37 PM | Registered Commentertomo

From Construction News, May 2014

https://www.constructionnews.co.uk/markets/sectors/housing/rydon-wins-10m-grenfell-tower-refurbishment-contract/8662225.article

Jun 18, 2017 at 8:54 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Jun 18, 2017 at 2:46 PM | Steve Richards

All Councils have various "Emergency Plans", as do the Emergency Services etc. What to do in the event of nuclear war? etc.

The Armed Forces, Emergency Services including RNLI, Mountain Rescue, Coast Guard, the NHS Staff and Hospitals are used to training, practising, and putting into action Emergency Plans. Voluntary Groups that you listed also practice.

Other civilians and commercial companies may be able and willing, but tend not to practice or get involved in simulated disasters, unless contracted to.

Local Authorities tend to sub-contract most of their work, and don't have lots of men in lots of vans waiting in a depot for a phone call.

When an Emergency is dealt with promptly, no one appreciates the training skill and discipline involved. Interference by politicians and the media is rarely beneficial.

Jun 18, 2017 at 9:42 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Local MP struggles to achieve full Streisland effect

Jun 19, 2017 at 11:46 PM | Registered Commentertomo

£5000?

My bed and TV was worth more than that

Didn't have contents insurance then ?

Jun 20, 2017 at 9:41 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Didn't have contents insurance then ?

Jun 20, 2017 at 9:41 AM | tomo

Indeed.

What about the Buildings Insurers? I presume the owners will want the building "written-off" and demolished, and I think that would be the solution preferred by the UK population., but it may leave a further hole in KCTMO's balance sheets.

Jun 20, 2017 at 6:02 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

With the 'mildly important' :) Brexit negotiations starting, the ongoing security activities (along with the mandatory PR) following the recent acts of terrorism and the mentally ill, the discussions to form a majority in Parliament, the attempt by Extreme-Left militants to bring down the Government, the Tory Party is still managing some back stabbing! And then it looks like the Government has the aftermath of the Grenville Tower inferno to sort!

Who said that the Municipal Culture needs to be changed?

These articles only generate more questions like, who the **** are the Grenfell Tower firefighters? Couldn't they order the residents out while the fire was in it infancy? It sounds they hadn't left the building:
Firefighters had put out the initial fridge fire at Grenfell Tower and were leaving the building when the blaze suddenly flared up, it has emerged.

Crews believed they had put out the fire at the London high-rise and were astonished to see flames rising up the side of the building, new reports have claimed.

Shortly after dealing with the fridge fire early last Wednesday, firefighters were telling residents that it was out, BBC Panorama reported.

But, soon after, the 24-storey building was consumed by flames in one of Britain's biggest ever tower block fires that left at least 79 people dead.
Telegraph: Grenfell Tower firefighters put out fridge blaze 'and were just leaving when flats erupted in flames'

Less confusion now, but I don't think the situation was much better before the fire. One resident said, 'I am angry with the council for the situation we were facing', but it looks like the KCTMO should be in the loop somewhere, with a residents list if nothing else, but with checking still going on, there must be incomplete information. Did this information get destroyed in the fire, I wonder:
TheGuardian: Grenfell Tower: 'They are still checking who was there and who survived'


A newsletter handed to tenants and submitted with the planning application stated: "Various cladding options have been shown to residents with the composite cladding system being favoured by the majority."

The document clearly stated the cladding had "fire retardancy".

Two years later, a cheaper scheme was agreed and new proposals were approved by council planners.

Instead of the fire-resistant panels chosen by residents, cheaper plastic-filled cladding was fitted.
Sky: Grenfell Tower residents were promised fire-resistant cladding five years ago

A veteran revolutionary convicted of assaulting the Conservative Party chairman is the force behind a “Day of Rage” protest accused of exploiting the Grenfell Tower catastrophe to overthrow Theresa May.

Extreme-Left militants are calling on demonstrators to “bring down the Government” and “shut down London” in a march on Parliament to coincide with the Queen’s Speech.
Telegraph: Veteran revolutionary with conviction for attacking Tory chairman behind the Grenfell Tower 'day of rage' protest


It would be interesting, especially as Corbyn has mentioned wealth, to know the job description and total remuneration of the council VIPs, and any outside interests: we could include the KCTMO members as well. :)

Jun 20, 2017 at 10:29 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Guess they decided to keep it.They have to demolish it now I suppose?


Building Control » Building Control Summary

2014
DEM/14/02401 | Demolition | Grenfell Tower, Grenfell Road, LONDON, W11 1TH

https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/bconline/buildingControlDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=_RBKC_BCAPR_123520

Jun 20, 2017 at 10:58 PM | Unregistered Commenterhusq

Jun 20, 2017 at 10:29 PM | Robert Christopher

http://www.ukfiretraining.com/news/fridge-freezer-fires.html

I entirely agree that this is an avoidable disaster/tragedy, and prosecutions should follow, but ....

Even if KCTMO had 100% accurate and up to date info on the Legal Tenants of the flats, it would be impossible for them to know the number of occupants in the building at the moment the fire started, or at each successive minute thereafter.

There is a difference between "Fire Resistant" and "Fire Retardant", and I would be reluctant to offer a dictionary definition off the top of my head. They are easily confused, sometimes deliberately and conveniently.

Construction work within London is subject to unique controls and regulations. Elsewhere in England "Planning Approval" is not the same as technical compliance with Building Regulations, Fire Safety Certification etc.

I wonder how angry Rent-a-Mob demonstrators would feel if they were stopped by "By Any Means"?

Jun 20, 2017 at 11:42 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Jun 20, 2017 at 10:58 PM | husq

I would assume that a financial case was made to refurbish, rather than demolish and rebuild. Part of this financial case would have involved maintaining maximum occupancy during the scheme, and not rehousing tenants.

Unfortunately, further financial decisions were made to "contain" the final cost. Whether these met with the approval of relevant regulations and authorities, will be examined by technical and legal experts.

Jun 21, 2017 at 12:11 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Jun 20, 2017 at 11:42 PM by golf charlie

True, but sub-letting would increase the confusion as an occupant and friends staying would more than likely have the same fate, while sub-letting would mean 'friends' but no legal occupant, and who would get the money?

It was night time, in a domestic environment, not a hotel or during the day when casual visitors are more likely :)

Jun 21, 2017 at 12:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Christopher

Now if I were sub-letting .... I'd regard this as a bit of a win.....

I sincerely hope that the credentials of the recipients are going to be checked.... and that KCTMO are picking up the tab - not taxpayers....

Jun 21, 2017 at 7:17 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Jun 21, 2017 at 7:17 PM | tomo

I assume that KCTMO are legally obliged to rehouse THEIR Tenants, but not the friends and lodgers.

Jun 21, 2017 at 7:35 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

GuidoFawkes: May: We Failed Grenfell Victims, I'm Sorry
It's the comments that are of more interest.

I noticed that there were some objecting to being moved into high rise apartments. I wonder if that problem will persist?

Jun 21, 2017 at 9:10 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Jun 21, 2017 at 9:10 PM | Robert Christopher

I assume that if KCTMO are legally obliged to rehouse THEIR Tenants, it will be in proprties that are "similar" in quality/standard and cost etc.

As there will be an inbalance in supply and demand for similar properties in the same area, KCTMO are still legally obliged to rehouse THEIR Tenants.

Jun 21, 2017 at 9:58 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie