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

Raedwald's assertion is that he was sacked... but how does one sack the top man at a council ?

Jun 30, 2017 at 9:55 PM | tomo

The Chief Executive Officer of a Council is a (highly) paid Council Employee. His/her Employers are effectively the Elected Councillor's.

Kensington and Chelsea do things slightly different - "On 3 December 2014, the Council approved the appointment of Mr Nicholas Holgate as Town Clerk. He is both the Head of Paid Service (often known as the chief executive in other Councils) and Town Clerk (who advises the Mayor at Council meetings and assists the Mayor on ceremonial occasions)."

Nicholas Paget-Brown was the Leader of the Council, ie an Elected Councillor chosen by the majority of Elected Councillors. If the Leader of a Council believes he/she has lost the confidence of a majority of the Elected Councillors ....

Jun 30, 2017 at 11:35 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I didn't hear it - but apparently according to this - K&C council are still direct debiting accounts for Grenfell Tower rent. The possibility of bailiffs being set on the deceased for non payment must be in there....


Thanks for looking that up - Wiltshire had both the CEO and the Leader of the Council "in one" for a while - an "elected chief executive" - they still managed (imho) to make a total cock up of it.

Jul 1, 2017 at 10:05 AM | Registered Commentertomo

copied over from a comment by It Doesn't Add Up at Tallbloke post on Grenfell:

One important thing to note from the planning permission: the uninsulated concrete walls were leaking energy at a rate of 1.5 W/m^2/K. Originally the press were suggesting the surface covered was 2,500m^2, but I think later they latched onto some invoice that suggested 3,250. The year round average temperature in London is about 12C. If we take the desired inside temperature as 20C, that gives the total rate of energy leakage as (20-12)x3,250×1.5W, or 39kW. Multiply by 8760 hours in a year and we get 341.64MWh per year. Since heating was provided by a communal gas fired system, where gas prices are of the order of 3p/kWh or £30/MWh or less, we are talking of the order of £10,000 p.a. worth of energy that was the maximum that could be saved by cladding the walls. Against that they spent £2.6 million on the exterior insulation of the the walls – a simple payback period of about 250 years, a.k.a. green economic insanity, or vanity.

The planning permission application points out that the green building regs call for a level of 0.3W/m^2/K, and that they aimed to beat it by 50%, achieving 0.15W/m^2/K.

The poor insulation levels and air tightness of both the walls and
the windows at Grenfell Tower result in excessive heat loss
during the winter months. Addressing this issue is the primary
driver behind the refurbishment.

The proposed insulation levels far exceed those required
by Building Regulations. Insulation improvements may only
happen once or twice in a buildings lifetime due to the
complexity and disruption caused. For this reason we are going
over and above current building regulations to make sure the
building continues to perform well into the future.

I'd say in the real world IDAU's arithmetic is likely falling short - it's possible imho that the payback time might be as much as 400 years....

Jul 1, 2017 at 10:35 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Deputy council leader Rock Feilding-Mellen who managed Grenfell Tower refurbishment is director of firm looking to build 300 homes on the outskirts of Norwich

The Grenfell Tower past has no connection to Norfolk, just reported in the EDP.

Jul 1, 2017 at 3:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Christopher

Jul 1, 2017 at 10:35 AM | tomo

I do not normally defend the Green Blob, but the cost of cladding Grenfell Tower was not just about improving insulation and saving energy.

The actual cost and benefit of the Cost Benefit Analysis carried out is clearly questionable.

The extra financial cost of increasing the thickness of the insulation by an inch or two, to exceed the required standard, would have been minimal.

Whether the extra thickness contributed to the rapid spread of the fire, by increasing the amount of flammable material fixed to the outside of the building, is not something that has been reported on. Whether the extra space enhanced the chimney effect, I have no idea.

Jul 1, 2017 at 9:17 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Jul 1, 2017 at 10:05 AM | tomo

Councils with a long tradition of being Red, Blue Orange etc, will have CEOs reflecting their bias. CEOs in more marginal Councils WILL be held to account after the next election, if the Council swings from one colour to another.

As demonstrated by "Yes Prime Minister", senior Civil Servants have to be mindful of political change. Some Council CEOs need to be more mindful than others. That was not the case in Chelsea and Kensington.

US Civil Servants did not expect Trump to follow Obama, because it was a foregone conclusion that the Clintons would be back in The White House.

Jul 1, 2017 at 9:36 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

My friendly ex fire-chief neighbour tells me that 1) fire safety assessments were kept in-house by Kensington and Chelsea Council and were kept from the fire service, and 2) there are many very suspicious statements being made, not least that residents fled to higher stories as the fire took hold. The only way they could have done that was by using the stairwell and by that time this would have been full of smoke and noxious fumes. Regarding 1, his final comment was "tells you everything, doesn't it?"

Jul 2, 2017 at 11:59 AM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Jul 2, 2017 at 11:59 AM | Supertroll

The relationship/duties/responsibilities between a "Council" and Fire and Rescue Services within "London" are not something I have experience of, but your neighbour's views are very interesting!

Outside of London, District Councils collect the Council Tax, and then the majority goes to the County Council with responsibility for Fire and Rescue. Building Control (compliance with Building Regulations which include Fire Safety) and Planning are both District Council roles.

If a District Council Building Control Team needs specialist advice, they will have to pay for it.

Planning files, and those of Building Control, should be publicly available.

It would be a natural instinct to flee to a staircase seeking a means of escape, and then go up, if the route down seemed more dangerous.

The fire occurred during Ramadan, a time of fasting during daylight hours, but socialising after dark. Many residents may have been socialising elsewhere, but some residents may have been entertaining non-residents.

Jul 2, 2017 at 9:38 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


I'm reminded (shudder) of Dame Shirley Porter... and out of control London Council antics.

If you can find a copy on Amazon "Nothing Like a Dame" actually reads better than many thriller/farce novels and should be required reading for anybody elected to a council in London.... the overt abuse of position was epic. My growing feeling about Grenfell is that position has been egregiously abused again - but this time it's self interest across a swathe of management and functionaries rather than one bully who (amid a carnival of other dire deeds) rehoused displaced tenants into a tower block that had apparently so much asbestos measured that they wrapped it in plastic sheeting ...

Guardian Review
Indy Review

Red, Blue and Yellow councils all seems to have issues with accountability and transparency and those Sir Humphreys do indeed bend with the wind... we would all be better served if there was more transparency. It's almost unbelievable that fire safety reports aren't public documents eh? We've paid for them after all eh?

Jul 3, 2017 at 12:42 AM | Registered Commentertomo

tomo, I think that those politicians that have tried to make political gains out of this fire, may regret it. It seems that Grenfell Tower was not unique in the manner it was refurbished.

"Fire Report", "Fire Safety Report", etc are terms used, without clear definitions, or understanding of what they mean.

The routine safety inspections would normally be publically available. Reports concerning the actual fire, may be held confidential, pending legal action. For the time being, the routine safety inspection reports may be deemed to contain important evidence, and so they may have been pulled from Public Access.

Jul 3, 2017 at 1:49 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

More relevant and I think informed commentary and opinion from Raedwald on the arse covering + maneuvering + abuse of position and process in the roiling wake of the burned tower block.

Jul 3, 2017 at 1:04 PM | Registered Commentertomo

>Jul 3, 2017 at 1:04 PM | Registered Commenter tomo <

Correct link?

Jul 3, 2017 at 8:29 PM | Unregistered Commenterhusq

I presume the purpose of the meeting was to agree a course of action, and funding to pay for it, rather than hold an inquest and determine guilt.

Nothing has been achieved by K&C, or The Guardian, if a course of action and funding to pay for it must await the election of a new Leader of K&C.

Political points scoring has triumphed, and the survivors are not better served.

Jul 3, 2017 at 9:51 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


oops ... it's here

Jul 3, 2017 at 11:18 PM | Registered Commentertomo

K & C have a new Leader, who needs to take immediate and decisive action in thanking all the people who did something.

Jul 3, 2017 at 11:41 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Problems in Germany:
The German here writes in an article titled Insulation madness brings home residents in wanton danger:

The Grenfell Tower fire catastrophe in London, with some 80 lives lost, has finally caused the public to become aware of a problem that has been ignored and swept under the carpet for too long: The insulation madness has led in principle and in large part to death in new buildings and renovated buildings.”

NoTricksZone: Policy Disaster: Energy “Insulation Madness” Turns German Residential Buildings Into “Death Traps”!

Jul 4, 2017 at 8:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Christopher

Jul 4, 2017 at 8:53 PM | Robert Christopher

What we don't know is whether "extra-thick" insulation caused the cladding to fail "worse" under fire testing, than "normal" thickness insulation.

We don't know what the test was, that all these panels from other buildings have failed. If they have failed to meet the performance standards that they had previously been certified to achieve, who did the original tests, and with what thickness of insulation?

Jul 4, 2017 at 10:57 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Why this continued attention to the exterior cladding and insulation? Photographs and video clearly demonstrate that fire engulfed the interior of flats before the exterior burned. Because flats on numerous floors burned before the external fire reached them, it must have spread vertically from within the building, presumably up the stairwell (associated with the gas supply?) Note I am not denying that the exterior burned ferociously and must have contributed.

Jul 5, 2017 at 7:41 AM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Jul 5, 2017 at 7:41 AM | Supertroll

How did the fire get "out" of the original flat that had the fridge fire? The Fire Fighters on the outside saw the flames.

How does a fire spread outwards and upwards within a concrete building? Through doors, corridors, stairs lifts etc, but also through holes formed within the concrete ceilings/floors for pipework, electrics, ventilation, and of course gas pipework. When built, these openings were probably enclosed with some form of asbestos cement panelling.

If there was a main Gas Isolation Valve for the entire building, did it stay in the "On" position?

Jul 5, 2017 at 4:00 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

GolfCharlie. I believe there was a report that the flat occupant with the suspect fridge left his door open, but then again another report has it that firefighters put out the originating fire. Who to believe? I trust the evidence of my own eyes that clearly show cladding fire did not ignite many (most?) internal apartment fires, and that external flames extended upward for up to 10 floors, whereas equivalent test fires of cladding barely extended 2m. (It is true I've not seen experimental tests of the insulation or insulation-cladding combinations).

Jul 5, 2017 at 5:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Why do we have to get caught up in his day to day speculation ? and trial by media
Can't we just let the proper fire inspectors write their report.
And then look for mistakes in it ?

Jul 5, 2017 at 7:06 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Whose speculating? I have made observations that do not fit the current focus on the external cladding. I'm really surprised that you will await (and be satisfied?) by an official report.

Jul 5, 2017 at 7:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterSupertroll

Jul 5, 2017 at 5:33 PM | Supertroll

Most(?) of the film footage was of the same elevation. It was a hot night, with little or no wind. The "chimney effect" would have dominated within the cladding system, AND within the tower if internal doors and windows were open before the fire, and then more became open as a result of the fire.

Gas that leaks and accumulates from a pipe or appliance will "explode" if ignited. Gas leaking continuously from a pipe will produce a continuous flame or flare, that will ignite other things, but not from bottom to top of a building that tall.

Jul 5, 2017 at 7:23 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

@ST see things that I didn't write comment was not addressed to you anyway

Then when I do say something you don't see.
I wrote "wait their report. And then look for mistakes in it"
.... you replied "and be satisfied?) by an official report."

Jul 5, 2017 at 9:47 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

\\ There is a very good 1951 Billy Wilder film called ‘Ace in the Hole’ about a mining disaster in a small American town. The event becomes a media circus and the town authorities conspire to prolong and dramatise the crisis as much as possible as it is making money for the town and boosting the careers of several reporters.

The British media currently seem to have found their ‘Ace in the Hole’ with Grenfell. //
youtube BBC reporter explains to Corbyn how they'll milk the story

Jul 5, 2017 at 9:48 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen