Emails reveal key Grenfell firms knew cladding would fail in blaze

Aaron Morby 3 weeks ago

Emails revealed in the second day of evidence to the Grenfell Inquiry suggest that architect Studio E, contractor Rydon, facade subcontractor Harley and fire consultant Exova knew cladding panels would fail in the event of an external fire.

Emails reveal fire consultant, architect, main contractor and facade contractor new cladding would fail in external fire
Emails reveal fire consultant, architect, main contractor and facade contractor new cladding would fail in external fire

Insulation manufacturer Celotex – which itself has been accused of producing misleading market information about product performance – revealed a crucial email exchange regarding the use of fire stopping.

In emails between staff at the firms, a technical manager at Harley said: “there is no point in ‘fire stopping’, as we all know; the ACM will be gone rather quickly in a fire!”

In another email fire consultant Exova, accepted the zinc cladding being considered at the time would fail if there were external flames.

In response, an architect at Studio E said that “metal cladding always burns and falls off”.

In its evidence Celotex said: “None of the individuals involved in the March 2015 email exchange have sought to explain how their knowledge that the cladding would fail in the event of a fire with external flaming can be reconciled with their responsibility as designers, contractors or consultants to ensure, or exercise reasonable care to ensure, that the rainscreen cladding system on Grenfell Tower complied” with building regulations relating to the spread of fire.

The inquiry heard that there was no indication that any of those involved contemplated requesting a full-scale test of the proposed system.

Evidence from fire consultant Exova revealed that the Grenfell Tower was originally expected to be clad in zinc.

But value engineering led to the use of cheaper ACM cladding saving £454,000, according to a Harley estimate.

It said that when Rydon was appointed, it was on the basis of employer’s requirements which specified zinc cladding with an aluminium honeycomb core; and contemplated that alternative materials might be used but must comply with prevailing fire regulations.

“It was only later that – evidently guided by the pressure to cut costs – Rydon (together with Studio E and Artelia, and with support from Harley) pursued, and obtained client KCTMO’s approval for the change to ACM,” said Exova.

The fire consultant added that it was only then that work on designing the cladding system commenced, under a team that comprised Rydon, Studio E, and Harley.

The inquiry continues today with cladding manufacturer Arconic providing its opening statement.

Latest news

Staff sent home at Harry Fairclough Construction

Warrington contractor goes under after 120 years in business
6 mins ago

Construction work stops on another Elliot Group tower

Work suspended on £70m The Residence in Salford
22 hours ago

London super sewer passes halfway point

Two further TBMs to be launched this year for east part of 25km drive
10 hours ago

Entire facade of wind damaged tower to be strengthened

Major remedial programme planned after three cladding panels blown-off
3 hours ago

Costain Welsh road job £100m over budget and two years late

Row simmers with Welsh Government about liabilities for cost overruns
23 hours ago

BAM trading steady after second half uplift

Rise in profit at BAM Construction offsets fall at BAM Nuttall civils arm
2 hours ago

Plan in for £30m East London ice rink

Twin pad ice skating centre will be biggest in southern England
12 hours ago

Winvic starts £43m Milton Keynes rental flats tower

Aubrey Place will rise to 18 storeys around a H-shaped footprint
21 hours ago

Boost your online presence – join the Enquirer Directory

Site for suppliers and buyers showcases products, services and latest stories
2 years ago

One million homes with planning permission not built

Council chiefs claim figures show 'the planning system is not a barrier to house building"
23 hours ago

Morgan Sindall profit jumps as revenue tops £3bn

Construction margin edges up to 2.2% in bumper year
1 day ago

Laing O’Rourke nets £500m Everton stadium

Work to start later this year on Bramley-Moore Dock stadium
2 days ago

Scotland’s Whyte Crane Hire collapses

11 jobs axed as family-owned mobile crane specialist calls in administrators
1 day ago

Plans go in for HS2 Old Oak Station

Start of construction at HS2’s London super-hub moves a step closer
2 days ago

Opinion: New immigration rules are unworkable on site

Points based system will create severe shortages and is dismissive of construction trades
2 days ago

New minister for HS2 named

Lancashire MP Andrew Stephenson to oversee HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail
2 days ago

Plans unveiled for new £150m film studio in Reading

US giant Blackhall Studios keen to invest in the UK
2 days ago

Government cuts flow of EU construction workers

New points based immigration system means end to free movement of labour to sites
2 days ago

Facade panels blown off 33-storey Manchester tower

Caddick Construction and cladding contractor carrying out checks on building
2 days ago

New Museum of London enabling works to cost £40m

Bidders day planned for complex enabling and structural work package
2 days ago

Summer start for 350-flat Nottingham scheme

9-storey block to be built next to Nottingham station
3 days ago

Millwall FC reveal new stadium plan

Plan for phased expansion of the Den with upper stand tiers
2 days ago

Vistry deal to build 1,400 housing association homes

Aster and Vistry will invest £167m in five new sites
2 days ago

Fusion21 names decarbonising framework winners

Sixty eight firms secure places on £250m energy efficiency framework
3 days ago

Speller Metcalfe wins £14m Devon leisure centre deal

New Tarka Leisure Centre to offer ‘endless ski slope’
3 days ago

Bardsley crashed owing £45m to trade creditors

Manchester builder hit by toxic mix of contractual disputes and project delays
3 days ago

Bardsley hit sends Anders Glass under

Manchester glass merchant and glazing contractor crashes
3 days ago

Green light for UK’s first ‘super slender’ resi tower

Broad Street tower in Birmingham will be less than 10m wide but rise to 37 storeys
4 days ago

Higgins bags £44m job at Shredded Wheat Factory site

Over 200 homes planned for Welwyn Garden City site
4 days ago

Jackson in line for £22m road upgrade

Construction to start this spring after funding agreed for A2300 improvements
3 days ago

Contractor services