Assessment of external cladding on high rise flats in London following Grenfell fire

Following the Grenfell tower fire disaster I was asked to make an assessment of three tall blocks of residential accommodation in Greenwich. Three different cladding systems had been installed and the installer was no longer trading. I had access to BRE fire test reports (BS 8414-1) on some of the systems. I also had access to a fire safety strategy report for the buildings and some detail drawings recd from the main contractor. Some of the blocks were more than ...

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Fire advice on block of 8 flats in Ruislip

I was asked to comment on some plans by a developer. The following comments don’t make sense without the plans and are only given to indicate the nature of ‘quick’ comments that may be made.

“I have now looked at plans. General point is that, wherever possible, kitchens should be located furthest away from flat entrance door. In some flats they are not. Common parts look OK except for escape ‘balcony’ for Flat E occupants mentioned below.
Some problem areas are:
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Residence with problematic smoke vent, Hatch End, London

There are two blocks in a terrace in Hatch End high street. At ground level fronting the pavement there are commercial units in each block. To the rear there is a first floor access deck reached via an external staircase. There are two communal stairwells (one in each block) which serve the existing first floor and second floor flats. Two new studio flats have been recently constructed – one above each existing block at third floor level. Each new flat ...

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Means of escape in 4-storey refurbished house, Chamberlain Street, North London


The building control officer (BCO) was not happy with the escape strategy for this single staircase dwelling being refurbished. I was asked to clarify it and prepare a logic. I inspected the building with the client. At my request the architect marked up the plans showing the protected areas and I prepared a logic for the escape which, for one fire scenario, involved an unusual route. This was accepted by the BCO. There was also a query about upgrading the ...

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Fire safety of external balcony steelwork and timber cladding of 6-storey residential block, London E3

Following receipt of a fire safety enforcement notice from the LFEPA my building management client asked me for a professional opinion  a) on the need to fire protect the external steelwork on this residential building and b) if the extensive external timber cladding on the building needed to have treatment to improve the resistance to spread of flame. The building was 6 storeys and had, on one face, external open-to-the-air timber walkways supported on unprotected steel balconies which formed the ...

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Fire safety report on external balcony steelwork and timber cladding of 6-storey residential block, London E3


I was asked by my client to inspect and report on this existing block following comments by the local fire service. Calculations by a structural engineer assumed that the steel I-sections were exposed to the standard BS 476 fire resistance heating conditions in which the steel is totally engulfed in the fire, which may be a very severe environment if the steel is outside the fire compartment. I said that if any calculation method should be employed it should use ...

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Report on proposed fire curtain including calculation of radiation tenability and proposed alternative solution to the means of escape problem in Stanford Court, Cornwall Gardens, London, SW7.

My client, the flat owner, was refurbishing a 4th floor flat. RBKC building control had provided a guidance document on the criteria that needed to be satisfied when fire curtains are to be deployed, and this required information on insulation against radiation so that flat occupants could pass by the hot curtain in a fire without suffering radiation burns

I was asked to make a calculation of tenability on the assumption that a 7m wide Coopers fire insulating curtain would be ...

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Fireplace modifications in a block of flats in Judd Street near Euston, London WC.

The client, owner of the flat in question, had removed a 2m wide traditional brick chimney breast to gain space in the small rented flat. A structural steel ‘box’ frame had been installed to provide load transfer from chimneys above the flat  and this steelwork had been clad with fire protecting board. Several uninsulated stainless steel flues had been used to connect traditional brick flues in flats below and above, and the floor and ceiling had been properly fire stopped ...

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