High-rise fires and non-conforming products: how can architects manage the risk?

The tragedy of London’s Grenfell Tower fire has ignited a global wave of concern surrounding the safety of certain cladding products. Wendy Poulton, risk manager at Informed, considers the various investigations into non-conforming building products that have taken place following incidents across Australia. Since none of the findings have been tested in a civil trial, what are the risks involved in specifying non-conforming products? Flammable cladding is thought to have contributed to the spread of the fire at the Grenfell tower in London. The June 2017 fire in London’s Grenfell Tower, with its shocking loss of life, has refocused the world’s attention on the fire-proofing of high-rise buildings. Comparisons have been drawn with Melbourne’s Lacrosse Building, where in November 2014 a blaze spread rapidly up the building facade, but was contained by the sprinkler system so that there was no loss of life. However, these are very early days, and we await expert investigations to provide better guidance on what has caused and contributed to the terrible Grenfell Tower incident. Meanwhile, this is an ideal moment to recap the investigations and advice from public bodies on the Lacr...

Green Power on the Chesapeake — Chesapeake Bay Magazine

Cruising the Chesapeake and its many tributaries is one of life’s great pastimes. Whatever motivates us to seek out a quiet harbor will also require us to evaluate the DC power system on our boat. Stored energy in our batteries can only support our equipment and creature comforts for so long before they need recharging, which requires us to start a generator to power the battery charger, or run the main engine for the alternator to do its work. But, there are other choices. An alternative green energy system can reduce the recharging times required and even extend the life of our batteries.  Hydro-generators can be very efficient for sailors on long passages. These involve trailing a propeller through the water attached to a generator, which produces electrical power while sailing.  However due to the very high initial cost, a Bay cruiser (even one that makes an occasional Bermuda, or coastal trip) would be hard-pressed to justify the payback. These devices only work when underway. So, in our serene anchor-out example, they are of no benefit. Wind generators are wind turbines mounted on poles high enough that you should not be able to reach up and touch the blades. As the wind v...