Grenfell Tower Disaster

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Flammable Refrigerants & the Grenfell Tower disaster

Flammable refrigerants used as a blowing agent in the manufacture of insulation (cladding & appliance) & as a coolent in the refrigerator/freezer cooling circuit played a major role in the Grenfell Tower disaster.
Has manufacturers of materials been ambiguous? 

Content

1) Grenfell Tower Disaster

2) Independent Review of Building Regulations & Fire Safety

3) The Grenfell Tower Enquiry

4) Actions in progress


Recent fire disasters due to combustable clading insulation made with flammable refrigerants blowing agent

14 June 2017 London - click 10 May 2021 London - click

30 August 2021 Milan Italy - click

 

See more :  List of high-rise facade fires WIKPIDIA


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1) Grenfell Tower Disaster event (14 June 2017) which led to the tragic death of 72 people due to manufacturers used flammable refrigerants in the manufacture of cladding insulation and in the refrigerator cooling circuits :
(non-flammables refrigerants available since 1928) 
  

The fire started by a Hotpoint / Whirlpool refrigerator-freezer insulation foam produced using butane (A3 class highly flmmable) Blowing Agentignited by a capacitor spark  (Intertek report p 8-12), and the refrigerator cooling circuit charged with A3 class1 (highly flammable) R600a refrigerant EXPLODING and spreading the fire to the building cladding4

"Click on images to see more

        

The culprit materials: Flammable Refrigerantsa 

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2) Independent Review of Building Regulations & Fire Safety 

as a result of the Grenfell disaster in June 2017

  

Final Report by  Dame Judith Hackitt   -  May 2018 

Extracts

"The principles of health and safety law do not just apply to those who are engaged in work but also to those who are placed at risk by work activities, including members of the public"

"Residents and consumers need to be at the heart of any new regulatory system"

"This is the very least we can all do for the bereaved and the survivors of the tragdy that occurred on 14 June 2017, and for everyone who needs to know that their homes are safe for them to live in"

“We need a culture change in this industry.

  • You need to care about the building that you are in the supply chain for.
  • You need to care that the people who are going to live in them, work in them and sleep in them feel safe and are safe. Until you care, this system will not change and will not work"
 

"Why would you want to wait? Why not get ahead of the game and your competitors?”

Dame Judith Hackitt at the BESA Virtual Conference 2020
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3) The Grenfell Tower Enquiry  

PHASE 1 Overview Report (Oct 2019)

2.12 Chapter 21 p4 "Rt Hon Sir Martin Moore-Bick" 
"how the failure of a common domestic appliance could have had such disastrous consequences" 

BBC Podcasts witness statements
 (Arconic - Celotex)

141 Arconic -  Debra French UK Sales Manager (12 Feb 2021)

 

142 Arconic - Claude Schmidt President 142 (12 Feb 2021)

136 Celotex Podcast (20 Nov 2020) 
"Staff from the insulation manufacturer Celotex admitted they were unethical"

Kingspan Podcast 137, 138,139 and 140 (27 Nov, 04 Dec and 11 Dec 2020) 

YouTube witness statements 
( Bereaved Lawyers - MD Kingspan - Technical Manager Celotex

9 Novenber 2020-Sam Stein QC
Lawyer for the bereaved and survivors


These companies Kingspan,, Arconic and Celotex are no more than cooks and they knew that there product is flammable

9 December 2020- Richard Burnley
Kingspan MD (2014-2019)


"Was not aware that the change of the foam blowing agent? (1:01)". 

2008  tests for the revised product failed. (2:24 - 2:27)".

26 November 2020-Debbie Burger
Celotex Technical Manager


"Was not aware what class O* means 6:40"


* LEGAL OPINION            * LEGAL OPINION          * LEGAL OPINION

   (Click to listen)

a) Corporate manslaughter (duty on companies not only regarding safety of products but duty of safety of users while the company is aware of it and do not inform), or 
b) Individuals within the company for Gross negligence manslaughter (Inviduals aware of safety issues but intentionally hide information) or / and
c) Other fraud or fraud related charges, fire safety or Health and Safety offences 

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* REPORTS & BLOGS            * REPORTS & BLOGS           * REPORTS & BLOGS

Whirlpool / Hotpoint TEST REPORT  February 2018
 (requested by BEIS/UKGOV)
 
"Confirms that the insulation used hydrocarbon blowing agent and not meeting standards...."

Which? REPORT: Fridge Freezer Safety
S
eptember 2021

Environment Agency REPORT. Hydrocarbon -blown fridges are hazardous waste
J
anuary 2013

UNEP Ozone Seretariat Fact Sheet on HFC & Low GWP Alternative as BLOWING AGENTS in the manufacture of Insulation Foam October 2015

Housing After Grenfell blog. Insulation in England & Scotland 
January 2019


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4) ACTIONS in progress, (post Dame Judith Hackett Review (3))

- Building Safety Bill   


- New regulator established to ensure construction materials are safe 

Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government 


- CCPI -Code for Construction Product Information 

"It has become even clearer, as more and more evidence emerges of ways in which building safety can be compromised by inappropriate product substitution, poor installation, inadequate classification, identification and guidance on use, and in a myriad of other ways. It is vital that we take action to rebuild confidence in the supply chain but that will only happen if practices change and the system becomes much more transparent."

"I urge the Construction Products Industry to embrace the poposed Code for Construction Product Information" 

Dame Judith Hackitt DBE FREng January 2021          

           
 
 

a) Five (5) acid tests that stands behind the 11 clauses  

Clear . Accurate . Up to date . Accessible . Unambiguous

b) Eleven (11) clauses for Robust Ways of Working  

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Space Air (since 1980) is concerned and care for our industry and end users, that the action of Daikin and Cartel forced the  introduction of single component A2L class1 (flammable) R32 refrigerant in small AC & Heat Pumps, which can lead to bigger disaster than Grenfell Tower. (click to see more).

Two simple questions needs to be answered by any manufacturer like Whirlpool, Kingspan, Celotex, Arconic, Daikin (and their Cartel)5 who uses flammable refrigerants in materials or in equipment used in any building or dewling when there are non-flammablesrefrigerants available? :

a) WHY use flammable (A2Lor A3 class)1 refrigerants as a blowing agent in the manufacture of insulation used in building clading panels or as foamed insulation in equipment casing (e.g. domestic refrigerators)? when there are over 90  A1 class non-flammable1 alternatives availabe  since 1928?

b) WHY manufacturers are ambiguous and do not make it clear on their marketing materials (including sales leaflets & WEBSITES) that the products they sell, contains flammable materials? to meet Advertising Standards Uthority (ASA) "The CAP Code - chapter 3"? or Health & Safety Standards



References:

aA3 class Flammable Refrigerant 
R600a A3 class refrigerant was introduced to domestic refrigerators & freezers in 2000 - 2004 by some manufacturers replacing A1 class non-flammable (since 1928) (R12 or R134a ) ignoring warnings from industry &
 UN Fact Sheet13 which aimed at removing Ozon depleteing refrigerants (CFC & HCFC).
A3 highly flammable (Butane) refrigerant used as insulation blowing agaent use started in 2006 - 2008 to replace CFC / HCFC A1 class non-flammable refrigerants. A3 & A2 class are fire propagator while A1 class is fire supressor

Refrigerant classification
There are over 300 types of refrigerants in THREE Safety Classifications with regards to flammability, in accordance with ISO 817:2014 (E)

& ASHRAE34 International Standard clearly indicate that. A1 class non-flammable, A2/A2L flammable & A3 Highly flammable.

Greenwashing
"Greenwashing is a deceptive form of marketing that claims a company's products, policies and goals are environmentally friendly and therefore do less damage to nature, with an underlying purpose to increase profits"

Blowing Agent
Blowing agent is a substance which is capable of producing a cellular structure via a foaming process in a variety of materials that undergo hardening or phase transition, such as polymers, plastics, and metals. They are typically applied when the blown material is in a liquid stage *Note: Use of class O materials is an old out of dated national product classification (see more). Must use BS EN 13501-1 (class A1 non-combustible and non-flammable or class A2 non-combustible BUT, flammable). (see UNEP - Fact sheet 

  

4Building CladdingComposite cladding typically consists of panels 3–5 millimetres (0.12–0.20 in) thick made of a core material sandwiched between two aluminium faces. Grenfell Tower was clad with composite panels with a polyethylene core which contributed to the fire; these panels cost about £2 less than ones with incombustible core.

5Business Cartel ; Daikin Industries/ Chemical have patented (aprox3 00+ patents) A2L flammable R32 refrigerant used in small splits air conditioning equipment and licensed the patents to Japanese (such as Mitsubishi Electric, Fugitsu, Toshiba, etc), Korean (LG & Samsung) & Chinease AC manufacturers.conditional on withdrawing current R410A. This has been applied to UK & EU.

See more regarding A2L flammable R32 refrigerant used in Air Conditioing equipment (click here)


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