Demand Fire Suppression Systems & Non Flammable Panels For All Buildings In U K & Globally
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Demand fire safety codes are revised prohibiting flammable panels for all buildings regardless of height and to replace all existing flammable panels on all buildings with fire resistant panels. Additional fire codes needed requiring active fire suppression systems in all habitable structures.
Many lives will remain at risk and more tragic fires like the recent Grenfell Tower fire will occur due to building owners / property management unwillingness to spend any more than needed aside from fire insurance required. Those responsible for writing and enforcing fire codes need to be held accountable for providing the best fire protection codes possible and making sure fire codes are enforced, unlike what transpired at Grenfell Tower and other buildings around the globe for decades.
Tragically the recent June 2017 Grenfell Tower Fire in London scenario has happened to several other buildings around the world over the last 40+ years with these type of polyethylene flammable cladding panels and non-paneled buildings, which has resulted in a multitude of deaths & injuries as well as fire damage costing far more than cost of installing active fire suppression systems and fire resistant panels. It is clear fire safety codes and or enforcement of existing codes are inadequate throughout U.K., Europe, U.S. and Worldwide with or without the flammable panels installed.
In the case of the Grenfell Tower, U.K. fire codes prohibit such flammable cladding to be installed on buildings over 18 meters, well under the 67 meter height of Grenfell Tower. To cut costs of between £5000, according to earlier reports, up to £293,000 in other articles just released, for fire resistant cladding, the polyethylene panels were used and the fire codes in place for spacing of the panels to prevent spontaneous spread of fire was evidently overlooked by installers and local authority building inspectors.
All things considered do fire codes allowing flammable panels on any buildings regardless if 18 meters or less make any sense ? Does leaving the decision up to landlords / property managers as to whether or not to add life saving active fire suppression systems seem logical to you in light of the Grenfell Tower fire and many others ?
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The Grenfell Tower, like most older apartment buildings, condos and homes, was without any active fire suppression systems such as fire sprinklers. According to recent articles, estimates for fire sprinklers amounted to a small fraction of the cost of the £8.6 million spent on renovating the building, £2.6 million of which was spent on the prohibited flammable paneling which accelerated the spread of the fire at an alarming rate.
Fire sprinkler estimate for Grenfell Tower: Initial capital cost reported between £1150 per unit = £138,00 to £1998 per unit = £255,744 total (estimates vary article to article) which would of involved major retrofitting of piping within each flat and may have required extra costs to assure water pressure requirements needed to supply a sprinkler system of that size as well as costs of maintenance periodically per existing fire safety codes according to fire safety engineer I spoke with. Even if additional costs reached £1 million, that pales in comparison to the total cost of damage to building and the wrongful death / injury lawsuits that will soon follow.
The Times newspaper first reported that the Grenfell Tower fire could cost anywhere from £200 million to £1 billion, depending on the extent and cost of any litigation, the number of deaths, re-housing and rehabilitation costs, demolition and rebuilding costs, and also whether any other tower blocks have to be improved or evacuated. https://www.reinsurancene.ws/grenfell-tower-fire-insurance-loss-estimated-1-billion/
The management of Grenfell Tower opted not to spend the extra money on either of these life saving active fire suppression systems despite the low cost on these life saving devices in relation to total renovation costs. Had these systems been installed would have likely prevented the fire from spreading from unit fire originated in and spared the lives of at least 79 people and potentially a £billion in damages and lawsuits. There is also the stress and mental anguish of survivors who suffered injuries and or watched family members and neighbors perish in the terrifying blaze which is hard to justify at any cost.
Other examples of tragic & preventable fires over last 4 decades
MGM Grand Hotel Casino in Las Vegas Nevada 1980 : Management failed to take advice of Fire Marshall to add fire sprinklers throughout building which resulted in 85 deaths and 650 injuries requiring hospitalization. There were 83 building code violations, design flaws, installation errors and materials that were identified afterward that contributed to the magnitude of the fire and smoke spread. They indicated that as a result, there were 1,327 lawsuits against 118 companies. Money from all the companies went into a $223 million settlement fund that was promptly distributed to the victims within three years of the fire. Also $300 million in reconstruction of hotel and the hundreds of millions of dollars of lost revenue due to downtime and the business interruptions. The total construction cost of the hotel was $106 million and apparently the owners deemed the $192,000 cost for the sprinkler installation not to be feasible. http://www.firehouse.com/article/10465399/lessons-from-the-past-mgm-grand-fire
Melborne Australia Lacrosse Tower fire 2014: This fire involved same type of flammable panels which also quickly engulfed the building in fire believed to originated on an exterior balcony from a cigarette. Unlike MGM and Grenfell Tower fires, the Lacrosse Tower had a high pressure fire sprinkler system allowing extra time for safe evacuation of between 450 to 500 occupants and sparing interior from extensive fire damage. The owners have been given until July 2018 to remove the cladding and are currently suing the builder LU Simon for $16 million to cover the cost. There were no fatalities vs. 79 fatalities, with more expected in Grenfell Tower fire and 85 deaths in MGM fire. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/probe-into-crammed-dangerous-lacrosse-building/news-story/
For more information and fire safety tips for your family safety and to watch news videos regarding dangers of ionization alarms in most habitable structures see www.smokealarmsafety.org
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