When is an Insulation Manufacturer not and Insulation Manufacturer headlines the October issue of Insulate Magazine. Possibly the best front cover for an Insulation publication EVER.
The only independent insulation industry trade magazine Insulate Columnist How We Must Respond to the Perfect Storm Insulate Magazine columnist Simon Storer, Chief Executive of the British Rigid Urethane Foam Manufacturers Association (BRUFMA) The hiatus caused by the tragic events of Grenfell, is beginning to settle into a more considered and empirical approach with regards to the many other high-rise buildings across the country that have similar external cladding systems to Grenfell. Find a Solution Together Whilst the pain, disruption and un-certainty remains very real for residents, victims and the wider community in and around the blackened tower block, most of whom, it appears, have yet to be re-housed, the construction industry and other relevant parties, working closely with DCLG need to identify and implement work that must be carried out to make these building safe and secure and re-assure residents and owners. This is not to pre-empt or pre-judge any of the investigations or inquiries that are underway regarding the events at Grenfell, or indeed the (welcome) review of Building Regulations that is now underway. But more to ensure that all other buildings meet the current rules and regulations and we correct the shortcomings and questionable decision making that seems to be prolific across the country. a combination of mistakes from many quarters coming together to create a perfect storm Orderly and Considered Approach With so many domestic high-rise buildings listed as being ‘unsafe’ – and who knows how many non-domestic buildings will be added to this list – there needs to be an orderly and considered approach to prioritise these buildings and the work needed; those that are high-risk through to low risk, based on a range of criteria for each building. These criteria will include inter alia, if a building has a separate fire escape and its number of exits; fire suppression such as sprinkler systems; fire doors; alarm systems; extinguishers; cleared stairwells; the type of residents – for instance if they are elderly or disabled; and instructions from building management in the case of an emergency. Considered Approach Once this information is established, the necessary work can be carried out applicable to 16 www.insulatenetwork.com
The Perfect Storm each building, based on its own individual merits. This should eradicate condemning buildings unnecessarily, because of knee-jerk reactions and poorly informed opinions. No Complacency We must not be complacent, but fortunately Grenfell is a very rare event and is likely to have been a combination of mistakes from many quarters coming together to create a perfect storm. Although we must of course wait for the Inquiry to establish what those mistakes and errors of judgement were for Grenfell, we will continue to build new buildings and refurbish existing buildings, including those earmarked because of Grenfell. Construction has got to meet the needs of society together with hitting targets for energy efficiency and energy performance of buildings that the country must achieve. The construction industry still has work to do and it will continue to do it. Full-Scale Fire Tests As we know a series of full-scale fire tests on cladding systems were commissioned by DCLG because of Grenfell. Although these were not generic tests and the information ascertained is only relevant to each specific combination of material tested, useful information was still gained. Therefore, anyone responsible in specifying and installing external cladding systems can be confident that, when used with an approved mixture of materials, PIR insulation can remain as the first choice of insulation material on our buildings. PIR passed a full BS8414 fire test, but it also provides several other beneficial characteristics, including high thermal efficiency to help buildings meet energy efficiency levels that enhance people’s living conditions and reduce their energy consumption. Media in Overdrive It is not surprising that the media went into overdrive following Grenfell, that is their job, even though a great deal of what was written was pure speculation, inaccurate and wayward. What is far more distasteful, is the mercenary activities of those who saw this tragedy as a means of commercial advantage and were quick to use selective and questionable data to pedal half-truths and erroneous claims. Avoiding False Assumptions The lessons from Grenfell will be crucially important, but so is the need to ensure we make the changes and improvements where they are needed and that these are not based on false assumptions or supposition. Only then will our buildings be fit for purpose and meet all the necessary criteria for future generations For more information visit: www.brufma.co.uk KNOWLEDGE IN INSULATION insulatenetwork 17