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Subcontractors Under Seige at Grenfell Inquiry

THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 2018


A year after London’s Grenfell Tower fire claimed more than 70 lives, the public inquiry hearings are just getting started, with opening statements and fact-checking commencing just last week.

Early on in the process, however, the inquiry focused on the subcontractors responsible for the tower’s recent refurbishment, most of whom have refused to give statements to the council. The cladding installed during the updating project is taking the brunt of the blame for the fierce and quick spread of the fire.

Studio E Architects, along with facade manufacturer CEP and installer Harley, did not provide opening statements, drawing harsh criticisms from lawyers representing survivors and the bereaved.

“The corporates’ silence deprives the families of the degree of resolution and understanding to which they are entitled, and has only served to increase their pain and uncertainty,” said Stephanie Barwise of the Queen’s Council.

“Despite their words of condolence to the victims, these corporates have no desire to assist this inquiry, even though their participation could save lives in the immediate future.”

The general contractor on the refurbishment, Rydon, did submit to the inquiry. In its statement, it didn’t address whether or not it agreed with allegations that the work breached regulations, and claimed that it ultimately was not responsible for the cladding choices.

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The Independent reports that Arconic, the manufacturer of the aluminum composite cladding that was installed during the reno, commented and said that, at most, the panels contributed to the fire, but did not make the catastrophe “inevitable.”

The subcontractors who didn’t comment are waiting until they have full disclosure of documents, according to the inquiry.

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“It is inhumane to remain silent when so many seek understanding and answers—answers which are within the corporates’ gift,” Barwise said.

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Tagged categories: Cladding; Fatalities; Fire; Good Technical Practice; Health and safety; Safety


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