For help, advice and discussion about stuff not related to aviation. Play nice: no religion, no politics and no axe grinding please.
johnm wrote:I think the real issue we face behind all this is the triumph of form over substance. In government both local and central, but especially local, it's about two things closely related:

Process compliance
Avoidance of accountability

Outcome is quite low on the list.

Professionals be they engineers, planners, building control, social workers, teachers etc. etc. are either constrained by management who are scared of their own shadows or outsourced into a tightly controlled contract seeking to minimise expenditure rather than deliver service quality.

They are also driven by simpleminded targets, that are mostly counterproductive.

It's a mess and it's getting worse not better. :(

The Emperor is naked and we need a regiment of tailors urgently. :roll:

That may be an opinion of the public sector in general but it's not especially relevant to Grenfell. There's no simpleminded target that says "install flammable cladding if it's cheaper". There is a minima that says 'don't install flammable cladding'. The only big mystery about Grenfell is how a fire propagated around the outside of a building. The outcome is at the very top of the list - build something that is safe and functional, in other words something that is legal. Cost only comes after that, and minimal cost is quite rightly a valid consideration where the legal minima are met.

We'd all like simple solutions and somebody with malicious intent to arrest and lock up immediately, but these incidents seem to have lots of subtle component parts that come together. I knew the club secretary (equivalent to CEO nowadays) at Sheffield Wednesday when the disaster happened at Hillsborough as our wives worked together. I remember something said back then; "I didn't go to work that morning to kill anybody". Tragically the consequences of doing his day to day job have put him in the dock - he's being made very accountable and might be going to jail. I also know the structural engineer who has escaped trial, and I know the reputation of his boss (now dead) and can see why failures might have happened because of human factors. My father was a police constable on duty on the day it's fair to say that the rank and file had certain opinions about certain senior officers. A couple of Liverpool supporting friends were on Leppings Lane without tickets that day and they say that it was the normal thing for them to do back then in case they could get inside. Different people's holes lined up in the cheese and 96 people died at Hillsborough that wouldn't have if just one of holes had been absent.

Grenfell will be the same as Hillsborough. The layers of tragedy are just shocking including for the people who made mistakes and I think they all deserve better a better outcome, or epitaph in the case of the dead, than trite media or political observations that insinuate simple malicious intent.
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Barcli wrote:Very good - I'll pop along to Subway head office with what you have quoted tomorrow :)

Genuinely hope it helps. I had a reread and it wasn't clear whether or not it was your shop underneath so you might well have something to follow up with the owner / occupier. Sound is different but it wouldn't be your job to control other people's smelly premises. It's pretty straightforward stuff.
From what I'd heard - the cladding system was signed off as safe by a consultancy specialising in such things.
So did the guy sign something he shouldn't / was beyond his competence?
Was he put under pressure?
Did he sign off something different than he thought he signed off?
Did he sign off one thing, and that sign off was used for something else?

I hear that the change in cladding was discussed and agreed. The change wasn't hidden. Checks were done (like that sign off mentioned above). The same system has clearly been used in many other places - to the point it could be seen as normal practice.

If there had been a site engineer, it would have made no difference - he is going to trust the same sign off / trust that expert. He would have recognised the system as standard practice. He isn't going to re-test the fire proofing ability himself. Only thing he might have done was check the paperwork for the sign off (was the correct thing signed off).

So my suspicion is that the cause of this disaster is actually much simpler (someone signing something off with a desk study that was beyond their competence even though they didn't realise it) than any of this management / political stuff.

The police will charge that engineer with manslaughter, and the company that employs him with corporate manslaughter. It will be a technical trial, so will take a year to come to court.
Therefore they wont be able to say anything during any of the public enquiries, which will instead be filled with hot air. Every political animal will therefore try to use this as a trojan horse to push though whatever agenda / pet hate they currently have.

And the lawyers will make a mint out of all of it - the only winners.
I see the BBC have now revealed the drawings submitted for Building regs approval for the cladding on this tower and the fact, that was discussed in an earlier post here, that the windows had been moved forward when the cladding had been fitted, but which left a gap between the original outer concerete wall of the building and the cladding, without a firebreak at the cills.

They had mobile phone footage from someone on an upper floor soon after the fire broke out and during the fire's progress showing smoke appearing at his window cill long before the fire got anywhere near his floor.
Is there a link to the drawings, and are we sure that they are the final construction details, not just planning drawings? In any case, it's not certain that any drawings doing the rounds are what was built.
I’d have described it as “damning”.

The question is, “how do we bring honesty and responsibility back into commercial and public life?” It seems that nobody will consider anything other than profits and their own backside while “public servants” abrogate responsibility and hide behind process. Box ticking is all that matters.........
Flyingfemme wrote:I’d have described it as “damning”.

The question is, “how do we bring honesty and responsibility back into commercial and public life?” It seems that nobody will consider anything other than profits and their own backside while “public servants” abrogate responsibility and hide behind process. Box ticking is all that matters.........

When business contributes to political party funds in many ways, it’s difficult for public servants to get support from their masters. Ditto local councils. He who pays the piper. ..
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Grenfell had a client-side CoW. They were badly employed by the client.

I've watched a goodly amount of the enquiry over the last few months and at the start of this it seemed obvious that the holes in the Design & Build procurement Swiss cheese would be lined up. And so it was - no surprises there then. D&B in expert hands can be a wonderous thing but D&B also allows a know-nothing client to stay know-nothing with a veneer of "project management" experience being applied by client staff that know less about procuring construction than I know about social services. Prince2 qualifications be damned.

What came as a bit of a surprise was the egregious negligence of some suppliers. But worse, their utter dedication to falsify how their product is presented to market is a scandal that goes far beyond a single tragedy. It should become a criminal matter in due course.

There will be lots of bleating about how councils should do Building Regulations approvals, and calls for the return of Fire Officers. This will be the shallow political opportunism that doesn't solve anything which is borne out by the fact that it was the public sector that mightily screwed up in the Grenfell affair. The private sector is quite capable of regulating itself.

Criminals will always do what criminals do but a real solution here is for corporate manslaughter prosecutions to be brought more often and more successfully. There are quite a few people who should be going to jail over the Grenfell fire. Since quite a few of them are in the public sector I'm not holding out much hope of that.
Charles Hunt liked this
@Flyin'Dutch' said
and the hordes of bankers ending up in goal....

Would that count as an "own-goal" Frank? :lol:

As morality and ethics are apparently non-existent in Business and Public "service" nowadays, Perhaps the Courts and Prosecutors should severely punish not only those who neglected their moral obligations, but the big-cheeses who technically had oversight of them.

Such seemingly onerous repercussions would maybe curb the personal greed and tendency to scapegoat some lowly workers ,whilst the fat-cats lap up the cream!
Flyin'Dutch' wrote:You seem to have forgotten the sterling work 'the markets' did in self regulating themselves and the banks and the hordes of bankers ending up in goal....

There are a few million reasons why I'll never forget that FD, the battle scars from 2008-10 are still quite raw.

You've made a fair point though, maybe I should have chosen my words more carefully. Criminals will do criminal things so good law is important, not who regulates it.

At Grenfell, the public sector was as, if not more, culpable as the private sector. We get too tied up in fantasies that one is good and civic minded and the other is bad and only profit minded. That's a childish view which I am sure few of us here subscribe to. Lots of things went wrong at Grenfell, all of them to do with people not doing their job properly, for many different reasons. Who employed them was irrelevant though companies and institutions can be incompetent, and the latter seem to excel at it on occasions.

We'll see how it all turns out in the coming years as oinvestigations and court cases progress. Hopefully that will create an environment where people understand their responsibility and that procurement method adapt to cater for the lowest common denominator.

Personally, I have my doubts that is even possible since we're dealing with humans in unique situations. Every building is a prototype, every building site is a one-off outdoor factory with a workforce that has never worked together before using products that have never been put together in the ways shown on the drawings.

Every Building Regulation is an epitaph. No reason why that will change any time soon.
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