Compass AFM - Newsletter 15 - June 2017

Are we listening and learning from Grenfell?

The Grenfell Tower fire was a terrible tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and the many others affected.

We would normally not write a newsletter that is based on such an incident but considering how much is coming to light in relation to fire safety, building standards and so much more, we thought it was important to do so.

Listening to fire fighters, residents, safety experts etc., on news reports, this was a tragedy that was just waiting to happen. Even worse had relevant authorities listened it was preventable. Now that the list of omissions, oversights, even possibly criminal negligence is being exposed, these "respectable" authorities and companies are rushing around trying to prevent a further tragedy. All unnecessary had they only listened, learned and acted in the past.

So being very blunt Are we listening and learning from Grenfell?

Sometime in the next few weeks / months formal reports will be delivered and a public enquiry will be held into how and why the The Grenfell Tower fire happened. Can we wait until then before we act ourselves? NO. As the reader of this newsletter you are either working in a facilites department, are a senior manager or are a property owner. You have a responsibility to all the people working or living in your building(s). Lets be honest...

Have you carried out any form of fire safety inspection since June 14th 2017?

Lets examine what the fire fighters, residents and safety experts have identified so far. Note: This is based on watching television news and newspaper reports not formally released documentation.

1. The Cladding " The company that manufactures an element of the cladding believed to have contributed to the rapid spread of fire through Grenfell Tower has pulled the material from sale around the world. Arconic said on Monday that is was discontinuing Reynobond PE, panels that are combined with insulation to form cladding that was revealed as flammable... The Guardian.

"Police tests showed insulating material was even 'more flammable' than panels" Mail Online.

"Cyanide gas released by burning insulation on Grenfell Tower could have contributed to the deaths...The Telegraph.

The installation of these panels is not isolated to UK tower blocks, it potentially could have been installed on many other types of buildings. Just because cladding or other insulation material has been deemed safe in your country, it may be banned in others that employ more stringent fire safety tests.
If you have cladding installed on your building you should check it out.
2. Fire Alarms / Smoke Detectors " Several residents said they did not hear a building-wide alarm... More than one resident has claimed there was no central fire alarm system for the tower block - or that it had failed - and only smoke alarms in individual flats were working... Board minutes suggest installing hard-wired fire alarms had been planned. The Guardian / Sky News

The UK has very strict fire safety laws, however were they ignored? A full integrated and operational fire alarm system is essential. It needs to be regularly maintained as per legal or other requirements with full record keeping.
Is your fire alarm system fully compliant?
3. Escape Routes / Procedures " Grenfell Tower's narrow stairwell could have proved just as deadly as the block's cladding, it has emerged. An investigation by the Sunday Times has found the 24-storey block's stairwell, which served as the only fire escape, was turned into a vertical tunnel of smoke and proved a significant obstacle in saving lives. Evening Standard / Sunday Times

Escape routes need to be fully accessible, fully signposted and lit when dark (emergency lighting). They need to be kept clean, clear of obstacles and doors not blocked. Fire drills should be held and emergency training given. Few people realise how long it takes to empty a building full of people and how little time it takes for people to become overcome by fumes or smoke.
Escape routes should be checked daily and full emergency procedures in place and practiced.

Other Potential Fire Sources

Over the years of visiting or working with many companies in different industries we have seen many high potential fire risk sources. These include...

  • Boiler room stacked to the roof with boxes of aerosol cans
  • Linen covered electrical cables
  • Obsolete overloaded porcelain fused distribution boards
  • Tinder dry crumbling timber floor boards in storerooms with chemical containers
  • Rooms filled with literally tons of paper and files and no fire detection
  • Furniture filled with highly flammable foam
  • and many, many more.

Fire sources and hazards are easily overlooked. However most fires are preventable. There are numerous articles available online as well as official advice from you Health and Safety Authority or Fire Department. You need to develop procedures, checks and controls if you do not have them in place already. So it may cost money, but if you are uncertain, then hire an expert to carry out a site survey. At the end of the day you are responsible.

Because of the importance of the subject of this newsletter, please share with anyone you know would be interested.

So again being very blunt Are you listening and learning from Grenfell?

Compass AFM provide Asset, Facilities & Energy Management Control Solutions. for a wide range of industries including; Retail, Property Management, Facilities, Manufacturing, Education and Government sectors.

Compass AFM realised from the start that customers wanted more than just "boxed" CAFM software, they also wanted a means to solve specific operational issues. Compass AFM's solutions are the key tools for maintaining plant, property and facility assets to the high standards being demanded today.

Our years of experience allows us to develop unique problem solving solutions specific to your company It is this combination that provides our customers with the ability to make better decisions, run operations more efficiently, reduce energy usage and improve their organisations financial performance.

If you would like more information contact us or visit our website on

We would love to talk with you.


Dominic Murnane
Managing Director

Compass Software Technology Ltd.

Head Office: Killarney Road, Macroom, Co. Cork, Ireland

Tel: Ireland: 026 23616 / 087 607 6565
      Worldwide: +353 (0) 87 607 6565


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Compass AFM is a trading name of Compass Software Technology Ltd.