Police have confirmed that the blaze was started by a faulty Hotpoint fridge freezer and that the insulation used in the refurbishment was actually more flammable and contributory to the inferno than the cladding tiles.

In a statement to the press, Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack said “preliminary tests show the insulation samples collected from Grenfell Tower combusted soon after the tests started. The initial tests on the equivalent aluminium composite tiles failed also.” McCormack also confirmed that the police are now planning on investigating the manner in which the tiles were fixed to the building and how the installation process attributed to the fire.

Although the current death toll sits at 9 at the time of writing, it is expected to rise to 79 as more of the charred building becomes accessible to recovery teams. Manslaughter charges are currently being considered.

Thousands of households across the UK have been warned this week that the buildings they live in are also clad in similar flammable systems, or around 600 towers according to estimates from the Communities and Local Government. This is now a matter of high urgency to rectify, to prevent similar accidents happening in the future.

David Orr, Chief Executive at the National Housing Federation, said “Since the tragic fire that took place last Wednesday at Grenfell Tower, housing associations across the country have worked tirelessly to reassure tenants, carry out additional safety checks and, in London, offer support to the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.

“Right now, housing associations are working closely with DCLG to identify and test any tower blocks with ACM (aluminium composite material) cladding. And, while the cause of the fire and its spread remains unconfirmed, housing associations will be scrupulous in carrying out other fire safety checks for example on sprinklers, smoke control systems and emergency procedures.

“We want to reassure residents of these blocks that testing on your building does not necessarily mean that it is unsafe, and in instances where cladding is found to be combustible, action will be taken.

“As always, the sector’s first priority is its residents. We will work in partnership with local authorities and fire services across the country to ensure people in tower blocks are safe and secure.”

A new plan regarding the future of Hinkley Point C is currently being considered following last month’s delay by Theresa May in approving the £18bn Hinkley Point project.

The government is currently considering a proposal to detach development of Hinkley Point C nuclear reactor from a previous agreement, whereby China is responsible for the delivery of the Essex-based power plant.

China became controversially involved in the project 12 months ago, offering to fund a third of the costs in a deal meant to ease financial pressure on French Energy firm EDF.

However, concerns were raised by Theresa May, who soon called for a project review shortly after becoming Prime Minister.

Putting the project in jeopardy

Experts suggest that any attempts to detract from the agreement whereby China build reactors in Britain risks endangering the whole deal; the primary reason for China’s involvement from their perspective was in order to showcase their nuclear technology in Europe. Otherwise, they would have little interest in being involved in such a project.

This news comes as another knock to overall confidence in the future of Hinkley Point C. Serious doubts plague the proposals regarding the financial and environmental cost of the project – it seems to be losing what little support it had in the first place. Last month, Stop Hinkley Spokesperson Allan Jeffery commented “Now even the financial press says Hinkley Point C has become a laughing stock.

“The cost keeps rising while the cost of renewables is falling rapidly, and the potential to make savings with energy efficiency is huge. We could replace Hinkley much more quickly and cheaply without the safety fears and without producing dangerous waste we don’t know what to do with.”

CITB has helped secure convictions against a father and two sons who provided jobs for 180 illegal construction workers.

Baljit Rai, 55, and his two sons, Mandeep Rai, 32, and Daljit Pai, 34, from Littleover, Derby, were jailed last week for a total of 17-and-a-half years for supplying the illegal workers throughout the country.

Derby Crown Court heard that Mandeep was “the driving force behind the employment of most workers” and also created fake documents. He was jailed for seven and-a-half years, while Baljt and Daljit were both sentenced to five years.

CITB’s card fraud team supported the Home Office Immigration Enforcement and the Police in the investigation.

Ian Sidney, CITB Fraud Investigator, said “CITB takes illegal activity extremely seriously and it is critical that we continue to stamp out the fraudsters.

“I hope this conviction sends a strong message to anyone else that may be taking part in illegal activities, and highlights the seriousness of fraud in construction.

“We simply do not tolerate any fraudulent behaviour that puts people’s lives at risk or brings the industry into disrepute.”

A major home building company has been fined £100,000 over a pollution incident relating to a housing development in Huddersfield.

Miller Homes Ltd, of Edinburgh, appeared before Leeds Crown Court on Wednesday 18th May following a pollution incident at Lindley Park, Huddersfield, in November 2013.

The company admitted one environmental offence for an unauthorised discharge of water, containing silt and sediment, from the construction site into a nearby watercourse that runs into Grimescar Dyke.

Flannery Civil Engineering Ltd, of Willow Bridge Way, Castleford, was fined £9,000 by Kirklees Magistrates’ Court in March after admitting a similar charge for its involvement in the same incident.

Prosecuting for the Environment Agency, Chris Bunting told the court that the polluted water should have been managed on the construction site, and that neither company had permission to discharge silt water from the site.

Miller Homes contracted Flannery to construct four storage lagoons in order to reduce the risk of flooding downstream. Straw bales were used on the outflow of the lower lagoon to prevent silt from leaving the site.

But following heavy rainfall in November 2013, the lower lagoon filled with water, and Flannery removed the straw bales to allow it to drain. With the bales removed, silt water ran directly into the watercourse, affecting water quality.

A member of the public reported the pollution incident to the Environment Agency, which sent an officer to investigate. He found that the watercourse was running a dark brown colour, and traced the source back to the development site.

The officer also saw that the straw bales were situated at the side of the lagoon, no longer filtering the discharge. Water entering the top lagoon was clear, but the water leaving the bottom lagoon was cloudy.

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency, said after the case “Environmental permitting laws exist to protect the environment and local communities from harm. This case shows how important it is that construction and other industrial companies adhere to the regulations to ensure that their activities do not pose a risk of pollution.”

“Miller Homes should have had more effective water management systems on the construction site to prevent the silty run-off from affecting local watercourses.”

“If anyone spots pollution of this kind, they are urged to contact the Environment Agency’s incident hotline on 0800 807060 so we can investigate.”

In mitigation, Miller Homes said they immediately improved the lagoon system following the incident. They added that they are one of a small number of house building companies that had achieved an accreditation for environmental standards, and that their board of directors had been “apoplectic” that the problem had not been reported to the Environment Agency or even themselves at the time.

The company was also ordered to pay £2,901.03 in costs.

Famous ‘starchitect’ Dame Zaha Hadid has sadly passed away at the age of 65.

The Iraqi-born designer was the first woman to receive the Royal Institute of British Architects Gold Medal this year in recognition of her sometimes controversial but always avant-garde work.
Her designs can be found all around the world and include the London Olympic Aquatic Centre, the Riverside Museum in Scotland, Guangzhou Opera House in Guangzhou and MAXXI National Museum of the 21st Century Arts in Rome.

Official statements say that Zaha suffered a fatal heart attack on in a Miami hospital, where she was in the process of being treated for bronchitis.

We take a look back at the amazing, sometimes controversial work of an architect who has always been ahead of the curve:


Dame Zaha Hadid was an inspirational woman, and the kind of architect one can only dream of being. – Riba president Jane Duncan


For three decades now, she has ventured where few would dare. If Paul Klee took a line for a walk, then Zaha took the surfaces that were driven by that line out for a virtual dance. – Archigram founder Peter Cook


She was an inspiration. Her global impact was profound and her legacy will be felt for many years to come because she shifted the culture of architecture and the way that we experience buildings. – Stirling prize winner Amanda Levete

zaha-and-her-buildingZaha quote

The EU referendum is currently dividing opinion within the construction industry. It did in 1975 and now once again in 2016 we find ourselves asking “should we stay or should we go?” How are you planning on voting? Take part in our anonymous twitter survey below and feel free to explain your reasons or concerns in the comments section below!

The opening shots have been fired. Brexit is the big political issue of the year, and perhaps the decade. For those of us here in the present, it is going to be a busy few weeks in the run up to the EU referendum. Party loyalties will be tested to the limits. Industries will hold views. Businesses within those industries will hold competing views. Individuals within those businesses, within those industries will hold their own views, all often contrasting. Arguments based on reason, on attachment to tradition, on patriotic necessity, on economic planning, on their children’s future, and every other factor that influences us will compete for our opinions. investigate.

As with every other industry, the construction industry has a variety of views on the prospect of Brexit, and I think it necessary for us to have views at our disposal before making our own decision. Here are thoughts from both the ‘in’ and ‘out’ EU camps:


A survey by Smith & Williamson recently found that only 15% of construction executives favoured a UK exit from the European Union. A massive vote of confidence in favour of remaining part of the EU. The chairman of the property and construction group at Smith & Williamson, Mark Webb echoed the thoughts of quite a few commentators from the construction sector, when noting the reasons for favouring the UK remaining within the EU:

when considering that the key components of the sector are also cornerstones of the EU, access to labour and flexible working, it is less shocking. The survey highlights the concern within the industry that should a Brexit happen there is a very high likelihood of access to labour declining as margins are squeezed.

– Access to labour is essential for the construction industry, the worry of a Brexit from the EU seems to be rooted in access to labour. Renegotiated treaties following such a decision, may well take years, may well require drawn out negotiations, and may result in much less ease of access to labour. Simon Thomas, Managing Director of Asset International, writing for Huffington Post similarly focused on the necessity of labour to fill the skills gap in construction in the UK:

The first major issue is access to labour, without which the construction industry would be unable to function. The industry relies heavily on foreign workers to fill both skilled and non-skilled job roles, and always has done.”

A core principle of the EU is the right of free movement, which makes immigration between member states relatively easy and stress-free. For the construction industry, this provides a vital resource. An EU exit would mean that foreign workers would find emigration to the UK much more difficult. It’s logical that in this scenario those skilled individuals will instead take the easy option and cast an eye toward France, Germany, or Spain, where the right of free movement would remain intact.

– As a key resource, ease of movement for labour – a fundamental value of the European Union, unlikely to be curbed – the construction industry is unlikely to back a British exit from the European Union. As it stands, the construction sector is set to bounce back from a slow few quarters, and so demand for labour is likely to grow, which means either free movement from EU members is going to be a greater necessity, or the UK is going to have to invest in training (hi, we’re North South Training!) up a huge number of British workers to fill the gap.


Clearly the consensus from the construction industry is that the UK should remain within the EU. But dissenting voices are vital to any consensus. It challenges our assumptions, it engages on a deeper level, and it strengthens or weakens positions, until we come to a better understanding of the issue. When I see a figure of 85% in support of a position, I want to know the arguments against, because strength in numbers is not automatically an indication of truth.

Lord Bamford, the Chairman of JCB is a dissenting voice. He is convinced that a Brexit could cut the costs of bureaucracy so much so that any additional costs of leaving the EU would be easily covered. Bamford also rubbishes the ‘scare mongering’ of those who insist it would make trade far more difficult with other European nations, because he insists it is in everyone’s interests to trade openly and freely:

I think it would be, because I really don’t think it would make a blind bit of difference to trade with Europe. There has been far too much scaremongering about things like jobs. I don’t think it’s in anyone’s interest to stop trade. I don’t think we or Brussels will put up trade barriers.

– Further, he claims the red tape imposed by Europe can often make it easier to trade with those outside the EU:

It’s a burden on our business and it’s easier selling to North America than to Europe sometimes.

– Lord Bamford’s belief that similar trade deals with the EU in the event of a British exit will likely remain similar for the sake of the interests, seems to be echoed by Parliament’s own recent briefing:

If the UK wished to remain in the single market but outside the European Economic Area (EEA), like Switzerland, it would probably have to accept certain EU rules by arrangement. Whether these would include the free movement of people would depend on the outcome of UK-EU negotiations.

Most studies on the impact of migration on the UK economy have found weak or ambiguous effects on economic output, employment and wages on average

On the other hand, if the UK were to negotiate a relationship with the EU similar to the EEA states or Switzerland, it might find that it did not have any greater scope to control EU immigration to the UK than it did as an EU Member State.

You are going to hear a lot of contradictory arguments across industries, across unions, and across businesses on the benefits of staying or leaving the European Union. When an opinion appears strong, a contrary view will break it down, and vice versa. Ultimately it is up to us as individuals to weigh the arguments, and come to a rounded decision. On a personal level, I am in the 1/3 of voters who have not made a decision, and remain open to persuasion from either side. One thing is for sure, it’s going to be a spectacularly complex, information packed few months until the referendum arrives.

Written by Jamie Smith, Marketing Manager at


Many workers at a Celsa Steel plant have sustained injuries following a ‘deafening’ blast at the plant that shook nearby buildings.

Six fire crews were sent to tackle the blaze in the basement of the plant, on East Moors Road in Cardiff.

Workers at the plant told Wales Online the explosion was “very loud, deafening”. One worker commented “We were just in the office we heard a huge explosion and the whole building shook we all went to get out of the building.” Another added “There was a big bang, a big boom of smoke and that was it.”

An anonymous local businessman told the BBC:

“We heard a very loud explosion and then saw smoke coming up. It was a massive explosion, really something. The building we are in shook. We are only 100, 200 yards away from where it happened.”

The chief operating officer for Cardiff and Vale University hospital, Alice Casey stated “We have implemented our protocols for supporting major incidents and our teams are preparing to treat those injured.

“There may be delays for non-urgent patients attending the emergency unit at University hospital of Wales and we would ask the public to think carefully if they need to attend the unit and to make use of other health services.”

Celsa directly employs 725 people at its Cardiff site and supports around 3,000 jobs.