Fire deaths at Grenfell Tower raise questions about the safety of post-war renovations



Architects and construction experts are trying to understand the cause of a devastating fire in a recently renovated tourist building in West London that killed 12 people.

The fire broke out at the 24-story Grenfell Tower near Notting Hill in the early hours of this morning. Twelve residents have been confirmed dead, the toll is expected to increase. More than 70 people need hospital treatment.

Architects and construction experts are investigating whether flames are spreading faster following the new siding of buildings, as suggested by the spectators.

The London firm Studio E Architects and contractors Rydon oversaw the £ 8.7 million renovation of the 1970s building, which was completed last summer. The work included adding a new sheath of aluminum composite panels to the exterior facades of the tower block and installing an energy-efficient heating system.

It is alleged that fire protection measures were removed during construction. It is unclear whether these were replaced.

The air cavities between the new sheath and the insulation are believed to have acted as a chimney, accelerating the spread of fire, which burned much of the facade.

Rydon says the building has met all regulatory and health and fire safety standards at the time of the renovation.


The facelift of the building, similar to that received by many post-war housing blocks across the UK, would have taken place to improve the views of nearby luxury apartments.

Residents have repeatedly raised concerns about fire hazards and inadequate emergency exits pending the incident.

"All our warnings fell deaf and we predicted that a disaster like this was inevitable and just a matter of time," reads an article on the Grenfell Action Group blog.

"Regular readers of this blog know that we have reported many warnings over the past few years about the very poor fire safety standards at Grenfell Tower and elsewhere in RBKC."

The author states that no action was taken by the building owner, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, nor was the manager Kensington and the Chelsea Tenants Management Organization.

"It is too early to speculate on what caused the fire and contributed to its spread and we will cooperate fully with all relevant authorities to determine the cause of this tragedy," a statement said.

"We are aware that concerns have been raised historically by residents, and we are always taking all concerns seriously and this will be part of our upcoming investigations."






Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn says lessons have to be learned from the "nightmare" incident, signaling a fatal fire at Lakanal House in Camberwell, south of London, in 2009. He condemned the lack of sprinklers And on-site fire-fighting equipment.

The traditionally conservative quarter voted for the first time to nominate a Labor MP in last week's general election.

Corbyn said that questions should be asked as to whether the recommendations of the Camberwell Fire Test were implemented.

"A criticism took place after the fire in Camberwell, and the government considered," he said. "We have to ask about the facilities and resources that have been allocated to all the local authorities who have tower blocks in their area and, frankly, do so."