Grenfell Tower Disaster

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Did flammable refrigerant play a major role in the Grenfell Tower disaster?

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The culprit materials:      Flammable Refrigerants1 

- Whirlpool/Hotpoint Refrigerator refrigerant was R600a (Isobutane) and insulation Blowing Agent was hydrocarbon  Both are A3 class1 Highly flammable.

Note: 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 ). NO warnings on sales or user manual!

- R600 (Butane) A3 class1 Highly flammable refrigerant Blowing Agent3 used in the manufacture of the Cladding insulation.

Note: 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


Grenfell Tower Disaster events

  1. Started by a Hotpoint / Whirlpool refrigerator-freezer insulation foam produced using butane ( A3 class highly flmmable) Blowing Agent3, and the refrigerator cooling circuit charged with A3 class1 (highly flammable) R600a Refrigerant EXPLODING and spreading the fire to the building cladding. (see Intertek report page 12)
  2. Fire spreading furiously through cladding foam, by Kingspan/Celotex that produced useing A3 class1 highly flammable  Blowing Agent3. The same blowing agent used in the manufacture of the refrigerator insulation.

As a consequence 72 people died unnecessarily, had manufacturers put SAFETY ahead of commercial greed and GREENWASH2 by simply using: A1 class1 non-flammable refrigerant.in the refrigerator circuit or blowing agent of both cladding & refrigerator insulation.

Worse still the manufacturers Marketing materials (Sales literature, Technical info, Installation manuals, operating manuals & clear  Labeling) DID NOT INDICATE  " The product contain flammable refrigerant / material" flouting Advertising Standards Regulations  "The CAP Code-chapter 3"

(Click on images to see more)

  


Both manufacturers (Whirlpool & Kingspan/Celotex) are under investigtion and the enquiry is continuing which can lead to:

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 offences or H&S offences 

 Legal Opinion (Podcast 137 37:02)


 Pictorial Time Line


Grenfell Inquiry Phase 1 Overview Report (Oct 2019)

2.12 Chapter 21 p4
"how the failure of a common domestic appliance could have had such disastrous consequencesRt Hon Sir Martin Moore-Bick
 
Grenfell Tower Enquiry Web page : https://www.grenfelltowerinquiry.org.uk

Whirlpool / Hotpoint Test Report (requested by BEIS) (Feb 2018)

 

"Confirms that the insulation used hydrocarbon blowing agent and not meeting standards...."

Also

Report : The UK Environment Agency. Hydrocarbon-blown fridges are hazardous waste


Grenfell Tower Inquiry - BBC Podcast (Full coverage)

BBC Enquiry Podcasts - Arconic (12 Feb 2021)

 Podcast 141 and 142

 

BBC Enquiry Podcasts - Kingspan / Celotex (27 Nov, 04 Dec and 11 Dec 2020) & Celotex (20 Nov 2020)

 Podcast 136,137, 138,139 and 140

"Staff from the insulation manufacturer Celotex admitted they were unethical"


Grenfell Tower Inquiry - YouTube Video (Full coverage)

 

9 Novenber 2020 
Sam Stein QC

Lawyers for the bereaved and survivors

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

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

"Literature issued rely on 2005 BS 8414 which does not apply to product developed after that date 2007, 2008  tests for the revised product failed. (2:24 - 2:27)".

Interview will continue suspended due to Covid19

26 November 2020
Debbie Burger - Celotex Technical Manager

"Was not aware what class O* means and ASS-U-MEd etc 6:40"


Which? Report : Fridge Freezer Safety


 

    

Press release 19 January 2021 (click for link to Gov.UK)

New regulator established to ensure construction materials are safe

Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (click here for pdf copy)


 

CCPI - Code for Construction Product Information

Eleven Robust Ways of Working (click here for pdf copy)

cpa (construction products association) & MIG ( Marketing Integrity Group) Construction Product Information January 2021 -

"I urge the Construction Products Industry to embrace the poposed Code for Construction Product Informtion" - Dame Judith Hackitt DBE FREng January 2021


Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety as result of the Grenfell disaster occured in June 2017

"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"

Final Report by Dame Judith Hackitt

 Dame Judith Hackitt  

"We need a culture change in this industry. You need to care about the buildings 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
 

 Dame Judith Hackitt  

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

Residents / Consumers need to be at the heart of any new regulatory system!

 

The reason for Space Air following this event is our concern and care to our industry as Daikin have introduced (and others followed [cartel] ) single component A2L class1 (flammable) R32 refrigerant in small AC & Heat Pump for the 1st time since 1928 without fire tests, not meeting H&S 2016 no.1107 Obligations or adhearing to Advertising Standards (CAP Code). Deception! or Greenwashing2? . (see more)  Three questions needs to be answered :

a) WHY use flammable materials (including refrigerant in Air conditioning or domestic refrigerators, or as a blowing agent in foamed insulation) when there are over 90  non-flammable1 alternatives availabe?

 

b) WHY manufacturers like Whirlpool, Kingspan, Celotex, Arconic and Daikin, use A2/A2L & A3 class1 flammables when there are safer choices using A1 class1 non-flammable refrigerants since 1928?

 

c) WHY manufacturers like, Whirlpool, Kingspan, Celotex and Daikin (& their Cartel), not make it clear on their marketing materials that the products they sell, contains flammable materials? They clearly do not meet Advertising standards Regulations "The CAP Code - chapter 3" 


History of Refrigerant: A1 class1 Non-flammable & fire supressent refrigerants were introduced in 1928 to replace flammable & toxic refrigerants due to consumer safety issues! . A31 class highly flammable, fir propagator & explosive was introduced in domestic refrigerators & freezers in 2005/6 by Whirlpool and as foam insulation Blowing Agent in 2000. A2L1 class flammable & fire propagator was introduced by Daikin in 2012 in Japan & 2015 in Europe.


1Refrigerant classification 

There are over 300 types of refrigerants in THREE Classifications with regards to flammability, in accordance with ISO 817:2014 (E) & ASHRAE34 International Standards. A1 class non-flammable (there are currently over 90 type) , A2/A2L flammable & A3 Highly flammable.

2Greenwashing

"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"

3Blowing 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 135(class A1 non-combustible or class A2 Limited combustibility).(see UNEP - Fact sheet )


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