36 3 mins 7 yrs

When the Great Fire of 1666 razed much of inner London to the ground, Sir Christopher Wren piloted a Bill through Parliament which banned wooden-framed buildings from being built in London, and this Act remained in force for over three hundred years, A plan to by-pass this Act, partly because, if the buildings used wood, they would help combat ‘CLIMATE CHANGE and GLOBAL WARMING‘, backed heavily by the UK Timber Frame association, sellers of, so help me, Wooden Framed Buildings got through, partly because there was a test burn, in a large hangar, of a test-built six-storey buiding, which was easily extinguished by firemen. What was not mentioned, in the building report, was the fact that the fire arose again in the smouldering timbers, and the whole building was consumed by fire!

Councils throughout England have no idea of the numbers of wooden-framed buildings erected since the Act was by-passed!



Fast forward to September 15th, when the nearly-complete Nottingham University Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry burned to the ground in a huge fire, which unfortunately proved, once more, that Sir Christopher Wren was right all along. The entire building, funded by a donation from GlaxoSmithKline, costing some £15 million  had been erected according to the most rigorous environmental principles, made with a wooden frame and other “sustainable” materials, and powered with “renewable” energy, so that the structure could remain “carbon neutral” throughout its lifetime. Unfortunately, the fire-prevention and alarm systems were either still being installed, or not; instead of being the first systems to be enforced on site, especially as it was a WOODEN BUILDING;  and as WOOD CATCHES FIRE RATHER EASILY, any Engineer would have told them that their first priority would be to protect a building, finished or not, which, being entirely of wood, would always BE A RISK!




University of Nottingham chemistry building fire


The German word?




Click to rate this post!
[Total: 0 Average: 0]

36 thoughts on “The Germans would have a word for it.

  1. It amazes me that these builders would not recognize that fires have never occurred in any other type of structure for generations, rendering firemen in the UK as rarely sighted as unicorns.

  2. Why is it that right wingers are now so unremittingly hostile to all environmental efforts / causes ?

    They try to spin it that they only oppose ” too much regulation ” by the likes of the EPA, but there is a universal trend ( most certainly including this site ) for right wingers to mock, belittle and oppose any effort at conservation, minimizing energy use, reducing pollution, any of it.

    In the US, some of the greatest environmental leaders had been Republican politicians – Teddy Roosevelt, who created many of the national parks and ” monuments “, Richard Nixon, who created the EPA. But the right wingers of today would have opposed all of these, which would have been called the acts of ” dictators “, who fail to realize that ” the market knows best all the time “

  3. The majority of newly constructed single family homes in the US are made of wood, which has been the case for some time.

    Wood has its disadvantages, but also has its advantages. It is cheaper to build with wood , and it retains heat excellently as compared with concrete/stone.

    As mahons says, there can be and are major fires in any other type of construction. Many of the things in your house or your workspace are flammable, and yet you still keep them.

    The exterior of a building is only one factor among many.

  4. mahons

    And the endless disinformation for dummies campaign from the likes of Limbaugh.

    Smart businesspeople, including those from say the chemical business, are not hostile to environmental regulation! I talk to these guys. They know that it is in their enlightened self interest to have regulation that they ( and all their competitors ) must adhere to.

    The businessmen who oppose any and all regulation are those from filthy industries like coal mining, people like that.

  5. In the United States, and only in the United States, fire has demolished steel-framed buildings. Nowhere else in the world in history has this ever happened.

  6. Most homes in the US are made of wood…quite a shock to many from England and Ireland who visit for the first time. Mine is more than 100 years old and still standing despite hurricanes and blizzards and heat waves!

  7. A much higher percentage of houses in NYC are made of brick, even the one family houses.

    Its an exception to the US practice, for whatever reason.

  8. Its an exception to the US practice, for whatever reason

    …because of a fire in the early/mid 1800s (downtown)…laws were passed to limit building homes with wood. With that said…the rows and rows of fairly newly built and connected homes are a little scary in some boroughs…if one goes up in flames; they all do.

  9. //A much higher percentage of houses in NYC are made of brick//

    In NJ a very large portion are pre-fab. I have distant cousins there, and when I visited the guy told me that when you order one, a truck shows up with the bits and they have it screwed together in a matter of hours. Weird. I presume they also have them in the South, and hurricanes leave a real mess.

    The houses I saw were all raised from the ground, and they have problems with animals crawling under them and dying.

    Another sight that Europeans never get used to is to see houses on the back of haulage trucks – literally moving house! Sometimes you see quite big houses and, depending on the angle, the truck almost invisible underneath it as the house moves along the motorway.

    There’s something very American about that, I thought – mobile, flexible, put the past behind you and move on.

  10. You would think that a pre-fab house could be made as rock solid as any other house if you do it right.

    A lot of the problems caused by hurricanes are not just the type of construction but are because the contractor cut corners – happens all the time. Where the spec calls for ten nails, and the contractor only puts in five, that sort of thing.

    In 1992, when Hurricane Andrew ripped through Florida, most of the roofs were ripped off the houses. Except for the ones of homes put up by Jimmy Carter and Habitat for Humanity. Because those ” amateurs ” didn’t cut corners. Fact.


  11. There are a bunch of old bungalow-type homes on Long Island that in recent years have had a prefab second floor added on. Essentially, the house’s roof is removed and cranes put a prefabricated 2nd floor (already painted and wired for electricity) right on top. In a couple of hours you have double the square footage and your homes’ worth doubles!

  12. New York’s Great Fire of 1835

    We don’t have “Great Fires of ….” any more, not even in less developed countries. I wonder why.

  13. The evil government and all them gosh darned fire codes and govt fire brigades oppressing everybody every five minutes.

    Oh it is such a tyranny I can’t face the day no more.

  14. We don’t have “Great Fires of ….” any more, not even in less developed countries. I wonder why.

    Well, here’s the great fire of the Mandarin Hotel in Beijing:

  15. Phantom – yes, you did miss that one, and so did most Americans for some reason. Have you looked at it?

  16. Phantom – it looks like you’re still missing it, but I’m not surprised. let’s hope that there are never any fires in American buildings. They just seem to collapse when everybody else’s remain.

  17. Phantomm

    I totally agree with your comment at 1.38. The reality is that many of the opponents of environmental regulations of any sort are merely shills for the polluting industries and their billionaire owners. Fox-Limbaa and the Kochs is the most obvious example, but there are many others.

  18. Phantom your comment about rightwingers is the spin and the bull.

    Leftwingers and greenies are the ones who lie and refuse to face reality. If you oppose an industry that doesn’t work, meaning does not produce the benefit that it claims you’re labeled as someone that wants to pollute the environment.

    That’s nonsense. Solar has not delivered, wind has not delivered, the production of batteries to use in an electric car creates 10x the pollution waste of running a normal car.

    The truth is Corporations that use and produce both coal and oil have in the US reduced pollution levels so well that envirowackos had to have the air humans exhale declared a pollutant.

    The reason that the fake science of global warming and the environmental movement had to resort to creating a fake pollutant is because of how well things have been cleaned up in the US.

    You have made this claim repeatedly that the right wants to destroy the environment. Think about that, does it make any sense to you? Don’t we live in the same environment? aren’t are children playing in the same air and fields?

    Find me an area where the rightwing is fighting against safe standards for air and water.

    and you can’t use fake ones like CO2.

    While your at it why don’t you and you Peter show me and the rest what plans the environmental movement of the left have implemented that has succeeded in making progress of reducing or cleaning up the pollution of CO2.

    Peter if the right are shills for polluting industries and their billionaire owners, what are the environmentalist left. Show me a clean energy project that has succeeded in anything other than stealing billions of tax payer dollars.

    You talk nobly of saving the planet, yet all I see are democrat donors getting billions of dollars of other peoples money and then declaring bankruptcy like Solyndra. Show me one that has worked.

    Just one that has made clean energy and turned a profit.

    Pennsylvania produces coal, oil, and natural gas and our state has had one of the largest rebirths and returns of the American Bald Eagle. Our rivers and lakes team with fish and our deer population is so huge we have to have paid hunts to keep the herds small enough to not overrun the cities.

    Conservatives believe in and support GOOD regulation to protect people and the environment, the left has to makeup fantasies about cowfarts and the air we exhale. They have no alternatives to offer only the demand that we shut down industries that are already regulated to proven safe levels.

  19. The major reason for the cleaner air and waters is expqnded and consistently enforced regulation against pollution by individuals, by companies and by govetnments.

    Before those regulations, there was no incentive for companies to invent pollution control equipment, as there was no market for this equipment.

    The next rime you hear Limbaugh, Ted Cruz, or any other right wing carney barker praise the regulation that cleaned up the air of Los Angeles or the waters of the Hudson, please post on it.

    They never praise any environmental regulation and never will.

  20. the next time you hear them denounce those regulations please post it. I never have, and I would like to hear it if it’s true.

    I’ve heard them and others including myself rail against this falsehood of CO2 pollution. I have never heard either of those two or any conservative argue against legitimate regulation, just the opposite in the case of Limbaugh.

    You haven’t heard Rush talk seriously about the subject Phantom because you don’t listen to him, I do. I’ve heard what he has to say about legitimate regulation, and how if the global warming crowd were serious about real regulation they would be petitioning the UN to impose Basic American Regulatory standards of Coal on China, Russia and the nations that don’t have the regulations we already do.

    You hear soundbites against the envirowackos, you don’t hear whole conversations. Just the bits used to create a stereotype that you have bought.

    Rush has done whole segments on the growth rate of Chinese coal production, and mercury mining and the lack of regulation on them, but that doesn’t play to your beliefs so of course it can’t be true. It doesn’t play to the green propaganda so it’s not pointed out.

    Part of the reason that he has been the largest listened to show in the country for 25 years is because he makes good honest arguments. One of his favorites is pointing out this very hypocrisy by the green movement.

  21. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2011/02/17/207553/the-republican-plan-to-abolish-epa-ending-the-four-decade-bipartisan-consensus-to-ensure-health-air-and-water-for-our-kids/

    If Republicans ( and their wholly owned Tea Party subsidiary ) had control, they would probably abolish the EPA. Gingrich has spoken about abolishing it, as have other Republican office holders.

    Right wing radio only speaks of environmental regulation to mock it and oppose it at every turn. These guys are in the pockets of the polluters- they will never support any new regulation.

  22. if you want since you used a lefty site like think progress I can put up a loon right site


    You can find the extreme arguments on both sides, but your not hearing the crazy stuff that you said from Rush, and the proof that the EPA is being used as a weapon can be found in ALL media.

    The laws already exist to protect the environment, the US is the cleanest industrial nation in the world. The EPA is following a political movement not following anything based in reality to protect the environment.

  23. Completely untrue.

    Switzerland, Sweden, France and Austria are industrial and have cleaner water and air than the US. Probably othet places too but these for sure.

    Leave it to the Koch Brothers and their tea party puppets and we’d soon be like China, choking on coal pollution in a world with no environmental enforcement mechanism at all.

  24. it has nothing to do with the Koch bros or the tea party. The EPA is destroying the American Coal industry.

    If you want to deny the facts I’m not going to be able to convince you.

    Do some research on the amount of coal plants that have been shut down, the reasons they are using is CO2 emissions. Also while your at it do the research on the amount of coal production in those countries you name and the amount of coal produced in the US. Then look at the amount of electricity generated in the US from coal compare it to the amount of electricity generated by coal in those countries. You’ll find they rely far greater on Nuclear power than we do.

    This is the problem with this subject at this point in history. The only generating system that exists with today’s tech that can match coal is Nuclear. We don’t build Nuclear reactors in the US, in other nations they do.

    The EPA is implementing protocols more stringent than Kyoto without regard for replacement, and through motivations other than ecology.

    I ask a simple set of questions: what percentage of electricity is generated in the US by coal? If we continue to shutdown coal plants at the current rate what will replace that generating capacity?

    Phantom I hunt, I fish, I have children if we catch someone polluting the environment I’ll shoot the bastard myself. (metaphorically) The attack on the coal industry is real and it is not motivated by reality.

  25. Coal is filthy. Coal plants should be replaced by the now plentiful natural gas.

    If someone pollutes the air or water from hundreds of miles away, you won’t know who it was to shoot him.


    Ths year, the people in nine counties in West Virginia could not drink the water due to a spill of chemicals used by the filthy coal industry. The plant / tanks had not been inspected in years. The anti regulation bastards who owned the sloppy facility called themselves ” Freedom Industries ” . The company was owned by Republicans, great pals with the Koch Brothers, who together opposed ” intrusive government regulation .

    The chemical tanks in question were nearly 80 years old, and needed to be replaced. But Freedom Industries did not want to spend the money.

    After this incident, the firm declared bankruptcy, so there will be little recourse in the courts for the poisoned people in thenine counties.

    Is this supposed to be an ” accident ” of any kind?

    Let me know when you and your big talking friends shoot the owners and managers of Freedom Industries.

    There are multiple incidents like this. Pollution is the end product of too light regulation. Don’t worry about the guy throwing tires in the woods. Worry about businessmen like this who cut corners to save 2 cents a gallon on coal washing chemicals.

Comments are closed.