- Cladding at Grenfell Tower failed to meet the standards manufacturer claimed
- Fire tests were carried out on the cladding the year before it was installed
- The inferno at Grenfell in West London killed 71 people and the spread of the fire has been blamed in part on the cladding
Controversial cladding installed at Grenfell Tower failed to meet safety standards originally claimed by its manufacturer, it emerged yesterday.
Fire tests were carried out on the cladding the year before it was installed at the block, according to a BBC investigation.
Maker Arconic knew the test results, but the British body that certifies building products said it was not kept informed.
Controversial cladding installed at Grenfell Tower failed to meet safety standards originally claimed by its manufacturer
The inferno at Grenfell in West London killed 71 people and the spread of the fire has been blamed in part on the cladding, which has since been withdrawn from the market. Fire resistant zinc cladding was initially proposed as part of the £9million refurbishment at the tower in 2015. But it was swapped for a cheaper aluminium and plastic version, at a saving of £293,368.
That decision is expected to come under intense scrutiny at the public inquiry into the tragedy, due to start later this year.
The cladding used at Grenfell – Reynobond PE – had a rating of B, issued in 2008 by the British Board of Agrement (BBA), which used data provided by Arconic.
In standard European tests for fire safety, products are rated A to F, with A being the best. But the BBC investigation found reports commissioned by Arconic in 2014 and 2015 gave lower classifications. Cladding classed as ‘riveted’ was tested in 2011 and classified as B, but as C in 2014 and 2015. Panels classed as ‘cassette’ – meaning they were shaped before being fitted – were classified as E in both 2014 and 2015, although the report stated the tests were not completed.
Both types of panel were reportedly installed at Grenfell.
A source who worked on major cladding schemes, but not on Grenfell, told the BBC he believed there should have been a product recall, saying: ‘You wouldn’t put E on a dog kennel.’ The BBA said it was not told about the later test results.
Arconic insisted it had told ‘various customers and certification authorities’.