Rees-Mogg: Traitor, Hero or Muppet?

JRM 1/ Traitor, 2/ Hero, 3/ Muppet

  • 1. Traitor

    Votes: 33 6.4%
  • 2. Hero

    Votes: 83 16.2%
  • 3. Muppet

    Votes: 150 29.3%
  • 4. A very nice chap doing his best for the country

    Votes: 246 48.0%

  • Total voters
    512

Grownup_Rafbrat

LE
Book Reviewer
I’d suggest the cladding wasn’t the only fire issue with the fabric of the building.

Ive worked on quite a few flats that had a stay put policy as they were designed to be isolated cells.
Not one of them was, and even though fire retarding standards were far poorer in years gone by, many were just built so badly that each and every flat had very easy routes for fire to spread from flat to flat.

A comical example:
A sparky was complaining that three ceiling down lights should have been fire rated ones rather than normal ones…………while right next to the downlights was an internal two foot square void behind a ply wall panel that ran up through the building to carry services up through the block. :)
Construction firms not building to spec and pocketing the money? Never!

Offspring spends much time nowadays crawling in those spaces in newbuilds, and then getting builders to do it again, properly. The Fire Engineer is starting to be able to prevent this happening in future, but even events like Lakanal and Grenfell aren't going to fix fifty year old jerry-building compounded by modern incompetence.
 

Slime

LE
Construction firms not building to spec and pocketing the money? Never!

Offspring spends much time nowadays crawling in those spaces in newbuilds, and then getting builders to do it again, properly. The Fire Engineer is starting to be able to prevent this happening in future, but even events like Lakanal and Grenfell aren't going to fix fifty year old jerry-building compounded by modern incompetence.

Pocketing money isn’t really the issue in my experience. Its not about substituting materials or using cheap materials, but merely jobs being done poorly.

In the example I mentioned earlier, the void carrying services should have been sealed between floors……..but had been ‘sealed‘ using empty cement bags made of paper.

While things like replacing fire doors with non rated doors is obviously an issue that’s easy to see (in Grenfell for example), things like using non fire rated silicones to seal fire door frames or pipe runs is harder to spot. Again, ignorance of materials is just as much to blame as trying to save money.

The only silver lining with Grenfell imho was that residents were well aware of the fire safety issues in advance, and had been calling for issues to be resolved long before the fire, so when the fire broke out many of them went door to door to wake their neighbours or to help them evacuate the building. For me, that sense of community spirit among the residents saved a lot of lives.

There are of course buildings where poor materials were used rather than just the builders not doing a job properly, and the gaffer tape and plywood used in Grenfell for ‘isolated flats’ was an example of that.
 

Slime

LE
Slime, I usually like your posts, indeed I most often click Like or Excellent on them, but not today.

For one very simple reason - my current building's current policy in the event of a fire is if it's not in your flat/apartment, stay the **** put! It is also the current policy for every other tower block owned and rented out by Renfrewshire Council and as far as I am aware it's the current policy for tower blocks owned and rented out by housing associations in the area.

We got an updated pamphlet from the council and whatever we're supposed to call the Strathclyde Fire Brigade this week sent to our doors a matter of weeks after Grenfell, and I attended a fire safety conference in a posh Glasgow hotel where that stay-at-home policy was reinforced unless you were one of the unlucky buggers still to be living in an apartment block with highly combustible cladding - and there were only a few of those in the Greater Glasgow area.

If the fire is in my flat, and I have a clear run out of the door, then I'd leave Usain Bolt in the dust heading out said door and down the stairs in a southerly direction towards the fire exit.

If it isn't, and it's not in a flat whose occupants I care about - there are many of those - I'm staying put.

It’s perfectly fine to disagree. Your current official advice is the same advice that led to the deaths of those in Grenfell though.
In my local area the council and housing associations have swapped the stay put policy to a get out and stay out policy. This is the new advice, and reflects the realities of fires rather than any link to cladding.

Cladding is foremost in a lot of people’s minds……..UPVc windows, internal UPVC rain water pipes, internal gas runs or service ducts aren’t.
Gaps in concrete floors, gaps around buried pipes or phone cable or power cable runs aren’t either.

Many safety officers are also blissfully unaware of inter flat pipe ducts in ‘70s ‘central boiler’ installs……..As the central boilers are long gone, but the ducts are still there!

Then of course there was the Grenfell added bonus. Many flats were too high to reach from the outside, and couldn’t be reached from the inside due to a gas fracture………….the same gas used in thousands of blocks.

If you are in flat within reach of a ladder from the outside things are different than if you are higher up, even the physical act of the time it takes firefighters to work their way up through a building is a race against fire.

An important thing to consider, and more so in large blocks is the fire rating of a front fire door (assuming to know for a fact it was installed correctly or hasn’t been altered) and whether it’s a 30 or 60 etc.

In a large block such as Grenfell the fire burned for a very long time, so even if fire fighters had got to a flat with living residents inside those residents might have needed to then leave the building while the fire was still raging, and as we know, just two full breaths of smoke are enough to kill.

In a two storey block the fire brigade might get the fire out, and everyone out well before any fire doors had failed. In Grenfell that was never going to happen, with or without the cladding.

Why I differ is basically the same the reason used by those in Grenfell to leave….The ‘what was supposed to work’ wasn’t going to happen in real life.

Having worked in construction I’m very aware of how reality and ‘how things were planned’ are very different things.


Edited to add.
Here is an example of loveliness.
This flat didn’t have a fire door, and the resident was ordered to fit one.
The door is a fire door, and does have a mechanical door closer fitted. But the hardwood surround was replaced with soft pine. There is a 15mm gap under the door for smoke to freely waft under, and the silicone used to seal the frame and a large open void in one top corner above the frame is just regular cheap silicone.

This door is not any better for saving life than the previous door.

98532DE6-CC27-41F0-9958-5F9307C79B21.jpeg


Second edit…..a nerdy one :)
I just looked up the stats for Grenfell. There were 120 flats and an average of 600 residents. Many of those who chose to leave said it took them up to four minutes to leave once outside of their flats.
With 120 flats and perhaps one hour fire defences the fire brigade would have needed to knock on doors, wake people up, gather them together and search each flat at a rate of 30 seconds per flat. That was never going to happen. Fire planning for Grenfell could have only worked if the fire could have been put out before it spread, and that didn’t happen. The fact it wasn’t going to happen was known about, and complained about in advance by the residents.
 
Last edited:
It’s perfectly fine to disagree. Your current official advice is the same advice that led to the deaths of those in Grenfell though.
In my local area the council and housing associations have swapped the stay put policy to a get out and stay out policy. This is the new advice, and reflects the realities of fires rather than any link to cladding.


Cladding is foremost in a lot of people’s minds……..UPVc windows, internal UPVC rain water pipes, internal gas runs or service ducts aren’t.
Gaps in concrete floors, gaps around buried pipes or phone cable or power cable runs aren’t either.

Many safety officers are also blissfully unaware of inter flat pipe ducts in ‘70s ‘central boiler’ installs……..As the central boilers are long gone, but the ducts are still there!

Then of course there was the Grenfell added bonus. Many flats were too high to reach from the outside, and couldn’t be reached from the inside due to a gas fracture………….the same gas used in thousands of blocks.

If you are in flat within reach of a ladder from the outside things are different than if you are higher up, even the physical act of the time it takes firefighters to work their way up through a building is a race against fire.

An important thing to consider, and more so in large blocks is the fire rating of a front fire door (assuming to know for a fact it was installed correctly or hasn’t been altered) and whether it’s a 30 or 60 etc.

In a large block such as Grenfell the fire burned for a very long time, so even if fire fighters had got to a flat with living residents inside those residents might have needed to then leave the building while the fire was still raging, and as we know, just two full breaths of smoke are enough to kill.

In a two storey block the fire brigade might get the fire out, and everyone out well before any fire doors had failed. In Grenfell that was never going to happen, with or without the cladding.

Why I differ is basically the same the reason used by those in Grenfell to leave….The ‘what was supposed to work’ wasn’t going to happen in real life.

Having worked in construction I’m very aware of how reality and ‘how things were planned’ are very different things.


Edited to add.
Here is an example of loveliness.
This flat didn’t have a fire door, and the resident was ordered to fit one.
The door is a fire door, and does have a mechanical door closer fitted. But the hardwood surround was replaced with soft pine. There is a 15mm gap under the door for smoke to freely waft under, and the silicone used to seal the frame and a large open void in one top corner above the frame is just regular cheap silicone.

This door is not any better for saving life than the previous door.

View attachment 582437

Second edit…..a nerdy one :)
I just looked up the stats for Grenfell. There were 120 flats and an average of 600 residents. Many of those who chose to leave said it took them up to four minutes to leave once outside of their flats.
With 120 flats and perhaps one hour fire defences the fire brigade would have needed to knock on doors, wake people up, gather them together and search each flat at a rate of 30 seconds per flat. That was never going to happen. Fire planning for Grenfell could have only worked if the fire could have been put out before it spread, and that didn’t happen. The fact it wasn’t going to happen was known about, and complained about in advance by the residents.

This.
 

TamH70

MIA
It’s perfectly fine to disagree. Your current official advice is the same advice that led to the deaths of those in Grenfell though.
In my local area the council and housing associations have swapped the stay put policy to a get out and stay out policy. This is the new advice, and reflects the realities of fires rather than any link to cladding.

Cladding is foremost in a lot of people’s minds……..UPVc windows, internal UPVC rain water pipes, internal gas runs or service ducts aren’t.
Gaps in concrete floors, gaps around buried pipes or phone cable or power cable runs aren’t either.

Many safety officers are also blissfully unaware of inter flat pipe ducts in ‘70s ‘central boiler’ installs……..As the central boilers are long gone, but the ducts are still there!

Then of course there was the Grenfell added bonus. Many flats were too high to reach from the outside, and couldn’t be reached from the inside due to a gas fracture………….the same gas used in thousands of blocks.

If you are in flat within reach of a ladder from the outside things are different than if you are higher up, even the physical act of the time it takes firefighters to work their way up through a building is a race against fire.

An important thing to consider, and more so in large blocks is the fire rating of a front fire door (assuming to know for a fact it was installed correctly or hasn’t been altered) and whether it’s a 30 or 60 etc.

In a large block such as Grenfell the fire burned for a very long time, so even if fire fighters had got to a flat with living residents inside those residents might have needed to then leave the building while the fire was still raging, and as we know, just two full breaths of smoke are enough to kill.

In a two storey block the fire brigade might get the fire out, and everyone out well before any fire doors had failed. In Grenfell that was never going to happen, with or without the cladding.

Why I differ is basically the same the reason used by those in Grenfell to leave….The ‘what was supposed to work’ wasn’t going to happen in real life.

Having worked in construction I’m very aware of how reality and ‘how things were planned’ are very different things.


Edited to add.
Here is an example of loveliness.
This flat didn’t have a fire door, and the resident was ordered to fit one.
The door is a fire door, and does have a mechanical door closer fitted. But the hardwood surround was replaced with soft pine. There is a 15mm gap under the door for smoke to freely waft under, and the silicone used to seal the frame and a large open void in one top corner above the frame is just regular cheap silicone.

This door is not any better for saving life than the previous door.

View attachment 582437
My building's had proper fire doors fitted - 60 rated as far as I know, that are hard enough to break into that it took two car loads of burly coppers to force entry into one of my neighbours' flat for a welfare check.

And each door cost fifteen hundred sheets. Our surrounds are concrete, and the building's construction is so sturdy that the council has had kittens about how hard it would be to demolish it should they ever choose to do so. According to the literature that I as a non-architect have been able to access, our main point of weakness as far as fire goes are the uPVC windows - but they're going to get replaced when the cladding does, as it has been up since 1997 and it's knackered.

I'll be involved in all that shenanigans to some extent as l am my building's Tenants and Residents Association's chairman, and l am already looking forward to the nausea that I will be getting from tenants due to the works.
 

Slime

LE
My building's had proper fire doors fitted - 60 rated as far as I know, that are hard enough to break into that it took two car loads of burly coppers to force entry into one of my neighbours' flat for a welfare check.

And each door cost fifteen hundred sheets. Our surrounds are concrete, and the building's construction is so sturdy that the council has had kittens about how hard it would be to demolish it should they ever choose to do so. According to the literature that I as a non-architect have been able to access, our main point of weakness as far as fire goes are the uPVC windows - but they're going to get replaced when the cladding does, as it has been up since 1997 and it's knackered.

I'll be involved in all that shenanigans to some extent as l am my building's Tenants and Residents Association's chairman, and l am already looking forward to the nausea that I will be getting from tenants due to the works.

Can I just add:

I’d ask anyone to read your last two comments, to see what you did, but also DIDNT say :)
You and I have different view points, and I still think the residents who left their Grenfell flats made the right choice.

But, and here is the vital thing about what you have said imho.
You made your case without having to mention anyone’s wealth, whether they were ‘fortunate’ or not or their personal politics.
 

RBMK

LE
Book Reviewer
Here's a link to the cladding standards purely for interest:

1624015974849.png



The European classifications break down into codes, the ‘d’ part relates to ‘flaming droplets and particles’ during the first 10 minutes of exposure. The index is:

D0 = none
D1 = some
D2 = quite a lot

The ‘s’ part relates to total smoke propagation, during the first ten minutes of exposure. These determine a ‘smoke’ index:

S1 = a little or no smoke
S2 = quite a lot of smoke
S3 = substantial smoke

1624016023982.png


Cladding panels carry a fire classification result ranging from A1 to D in accordance with Standard BS EN-13501-1. There is also another standard BRE (Building Research Establishment) BR 135 which uses a completely different classification and a different test method.

However, even the higher standard cladding systems don't work properly when key components such as fire stopping and cavity barriers aren't installed (correctly or at all).

Just to add to the fun, some products are made to BS 476 part 6 or 7:

1624016370848.png

Needless to say, the higher the class, typically the more expensive...
A system designed for cock-ups.

Note also that many installers cut corners as the cavity barriers and fire stopping are time consuming and therefore expensive to install when it's done properly.
 
Whilst the residents who left were proved correct in that they survived. The residents who did not were following official advice. For JRM to say what he did sets a dangerous precedent in suggesting one ought not follow official advice from the authorities.

His comments were, IMO, crass as it suggested the blame lay with the residents for following the official advice given to them by the emergency services and not with those responsible for creating and giving the advice.
 
Whilst the residents who left were proved correct in that they survived. The residents who did not were following official advice. For JRM to say what he did sets a dangerous precedent in suggesting one ought not follow official advice from the authorities.

His comments were, IMO, crass as it suggested the blame lay with the residents for following the official advice given to them by the emergency services and not with those responsible for creating and giving the advice.

i.e. as Rees-Mogg suggested, it boiled down to common sense. Those that had it survived. Those that didn't have it died or gave appalling advice i.e. the senior leadership cadre of London Fire Brigade.
 
i.e. as Rees-Mogg suggested, it boiled down to common sense. Those that had it survived. Those that didn't have it died or gave appalling advice i.e. the senior leadership cadre of London Fire Brigade.
No, it does not.

It boils down to following official advice or not.
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
No, it does not.

It boils down to following official advice or not.
Regardless of whether you die or not?

I have followed the government pandemic advice and the lockdown regulations as closely as I could throughout the last year, but where the advice does not exactly fit my specific circumstances and responsibilities I have made my own decision weighing the risks and acted accordingly. Blind obedience to general advice is not necessarily a good or wise thing, as those who obeyed the LFB advice at Grenfell discovered to their cost.
 
Which got people killed. Your blind faith in official advice troubles me. Official advice didn't help at Manchester Arena either.
It did. Tragically.

The point remains, it is about following official advice, or not.

I do not have blind faith in official advice, so you may cease being troubled, or playing the man over the ball.

What does trouble me though, is an elected official suggesting one should follow one’s common sense over official advice.
 
Regardless of whether you die or not?

I have followed the government pandemic advice and the lockdown regulations as closely as I could throughout the last year, but where the advice does not exactly fit my specific circumstances and responsibilities I have made my own decision weighing the risks and acted accordingly. Blind obedience to general advice is not necessarily a good or wise thing, as those who obeyed the LFB advice at Grenfell discovered to their cost.
No, not regardless of whether you die or not. Nor was this general advice, it was very specific advice. Tragically wrong in this instance.

Hence, the comments were crass.

They could have been put far more eloquently without indirectly suggesting that those who died did so through their own fault rather than because they were let down by the very people whose job it was to protect them.
 
It did. Tragically.

The point remains, it is about following official advice, or not.

I do not have blind faith in official advice, so you may cease being troubled, or playing the man over the ball.

What does trouble me though, is an elected official suggesting one should follow one’s common sense over official advice.

It doesn't trouble me. At the first sign trouble , get the fcuk out of Dodge!
 

Slime

LE
No, it does not.

It boils down to following official advice or not.

I'd suggest it boiled down to common sense. :)
The official advice you mention didn't say stay put at any cost, and was also from people sat in an office who may never have ever been inside Grenfell.

The official advice you mention was also designed to work in the building as originally designed, and taking into account that internal fire doors would be closed and hallways clear of combustible rubbish.

The residents in the block knew there was a fire risk as they had complained about it lots of times...........The night of the fire simply confirmed many of those fears.

They knew the internal fire doors weren't being used properly.

They knew there was combustible rubbish in the hallways.

Some knew they no longer had a proper fire door at the entrance to their flat.

Going back to the idea of:
It boils down to following official advice or not.

Not everyone needed to ask what to do, common sense dictated their actions.

common sense is also worth noting in that it, or a lack of it also contributed to the building being less able to resist the spread of fire.

Edit:
I will agree about elected officials, or even political activists causing trouble.

Momentum were actively using the fire for propaganda by the morning after the fire, and decided 'they' were to decide which politician were welcome at the site.

We saw David Lammy openly making things up, and vastly upping the numbers of dead..........Then inferring a cover up.

We saw activists label the police as racist, and spread rumours that the police tried to stop the fire being put out.
we saw activists say the fire brigade didn't try too hard as the residents were black.

We saw the Labour Party conveniently forget a Labour Party member was on the management board..........As they went on the offensive to blame the Tories for running the building.
 
Last edited:

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
No, not regardless of whether you die or not. Nor was this general advice, it was very specific advice. Tragically wrong in this instance.

Hence, the comments were crass.

They could have been put far more eloquently without indirectly suggesting that those who died did so through their own fault rather than because they were let down by the very people whose job it was to protect them.
"Crass", but correct. Your only argument over JR-M's common sense remark is that it was impolite?
 
"Crass", but correct. Your only argument over JR-M's common sense remark is that it was impolite?
That, and it sets a precedent that one should follow one’s common sense even if it conflicts with official advice.
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
That, and it sets a precedent that one should follow one’s common sense even if it conflicts with official advice.
A precedent which I and most of humanity have followed on occasion.

It's not exactly rocket science: if your high rise building is burning down, is the IA drill:

a. GTFO.
b. Call 999 and ask what to do.

Regardless of the official advice, I think I'd be out faster than a fast thing. Of course other factors come in to play such as disability etc, but for a general rule of thumb leaving a burning building is not a massive leap of intuition.
 
I'd suggest it boiled down to common sense. :)
The official advice you mention didn't say stay put at any cost, and was also from people sat in an office who may never have ever been inside Grenfell.

The official advice you mention was also designed to work in the building as originally designed, and taking into account that internal fire doors would be closed and hallways clear of combustible rubbish.

The residents in the block knew there was a fire risk as they had complained about it lots of times...........The night of the fire simply confirmed many of those fears.

They knew the internal fire doors weren't being used properly.

They knew there was combustible rubbish in the hallways.

Some knew they no longer had a proper fire door at the entrance to their flat.

Going back to the idea of:
It boils down to following official advice or not.

Not everyone needed to ask what to do, common sense dictated their actions.

common sense is also worth noting in that it, or a lack of it also contributed to the building being less able to resist the spread of fire.

Edit:
I will agree about elected officials, or even political activists causing trouble.

Momentum were actively using the fire for propaganda by the morning after the fire, and decided 'they' were to decide which politician were welcome at the site.

We saw David Lammy openly making things up, and vastly upping the numbers of dead..........Then inferring a cover up.

We saw activists label the police as racist, and spread rumours that the police tried to stop the fire being put out.
we saw activists say the fire brigade didn't try too hard as the residents were black.

We saw the Labour Party conveniently forget a Labour Party member was on the management board..........As they went on the offensive to blame the Tories for running the building.
I may be wrong but I thought there were phone calls to the emergency services where people who subsequently died were told to stay inside.

As you mentioned above, smoke inhalation can cause incapacitation very quickly. It is the leading cause of death in fires. Hence the official advice to stay put.

Now, we both agree the advice was fatally flawed.

However, to suggest one should follow common sense over official advice is a dangerous precedent. After all, common sense is anything but and many solutions to complex problems are counter-intuitive.
 

New Posts

Latest Threads

Top