The horrors of Grenfell Tower seem to be haunting the news once again and the tragedy of substandard products continues to raise its ugly head.   According to the BBC Panorama programme the insulation that burned so rapidly out of control, had never passed the required safety test and it should not  have been on the building.  It is suggested that the RS5000 insulation, used at Grenfell gives off toxic fumes that contains cyanide when on fire.

The programme suggested that almost all of the 72 people who died there were killed by smoke.

The change in formula of the product was not the only problem with the fire safety tests and it has been suggested that the BS8414-2 test showed that RS5000 was only safe to use on certain new build projects when it was combined with a particular fire-proof cladding panel.

In a BBC report it was cited that Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union felt Panorama’s allegations would be investigated, commenting “if there are breaches of the law then those people need to be held to account”.

Celotex the company that manufactured the cladding is co-operating fully with all the inquiries regarding Grenfell Tower including the Police investigation and the public enquiry.   Naturally, the survivors have raised concerns regarding the safety of other tower blocks and there are still  so many vital questions that have to asked and answers are needed about how this can be avoided in the future.

The news for the housing market continues to be pessimisitic with recent reports stating that workers including police officers and teachers remain priced out of yet more London areas than ever before, despite a slowdown in the property market.

According to a new study the hopes of many looking to find a place on the property ladder have once again been dashed.  Whilst there was hope that a slightly stagnant market might enable those in the essential professions to buy a property, only eight per cent of London homes can now be afforded by a police officer on an average salary of £44,824.

Small wage increases and the continual price hike in the suburbs has meant that even fewer properties are accessible for purchase by essential worker professions.

The report by rightmoving.com stated that teachers on average salaries of £42,359 were not much better off and they were only able to afford seven percent of properties on the market.

Workers in other sectors such as bar staff were only able to afford one percent of the capital’s homes while train drivers on average salaries of £66,320 could access 27% of the city’s housing.

Apparently, Chief Executives get the best deal in London, as they are able to afford 75% of properties.

Paula Higgins, chief executive of the HomeOwners Alliance lobby group, commented: “The affordable housing shortage impacts us all — who will teach our children and keep us safe?  And there is no end in sight.”

Spring and Summer are always seasons where the consumer gets restless for change whether it’s a house move or an improvement.   Whichever way round, it generally gives a feel good factor for the next quarter as consumers look to upgrade, one way or another.

Sourcing the right skills for building projects continues to prove difficult for some companies that rely upon sub-contracting.

Investing in training programmes for individuals or on-site training for teams will help to improve the build process and help to keep the build standards high.

As aluminium continues grow in popularity, consumers seem to want to combine modern living with a sleek overall finish. While the appeal of aluminium has always been dominant in the commercial sector, for projects such as such as schools, restaurants, and government buildings, new technical developments have firmly placed this as a product of the future on the domestic front.  With improvements in thermal insulation, increased strength and the ability to manufacture in dual colour finishes, this will certainly add real value to both new build and renovation projects.

The industry remains focused to tackle the issues that present difficulties to the sector, aiming to manufacture products that offer the best in terms of industry standards.

Glass machinery manufacturers continue to evaluate methods for leaner, cleaner production, introducing faster, more efficient automated cycle times and ways of enabling processors to create more progressive designs across the board.

Helen Duval 2018