Report: Better Cladding Originally Slated for Grenfell

WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2018


A recent report has revealed that nonflammable aluminum panels had been proposed for the cladding of London’s Grenfell Tower—the site of a deadly fire last June that killed at least 70 people—but were shot down because of costs.

The Guardian recently obtained information about the tower’s refurbishment project when it was out for bid.

The Findings

The publication found that, at first, under the local government’s preferred contractor, Leadbitter, subcontractor D+B Facades had provided a 3.3 million-pound quote to fit a system of aluminum panels backed with mineral wool insulation.

A few months later, the council decided that Leadbitter wanted to spend too much on the refurbishment, and put the contract out to tender to save about 1.3 million pounds. It went with a different contractor, Rydon, which provided a lower bid, but fitted the tower with the combustible cladding that authorities believe contributed to the number of fatalities in the fire.

However, the council then needed to approve a different budget for the work, and the quote for the combustible materials ended up being 200,000 pounds more money—meaning that in the end, the council paid more for less safe materials.

“It is more news that tells us our loved ones would be alive today if different decisions had been taken and if the people in charge had put safety first,” said Sandra Ruiz, of the Grenfell United survivors’ group.

“We need the inquiry to get to the bottom of why plans for the refurbishment were changed and why when the community raised concerns they were ignored.”

The Guardian found that the council had originally wanted to spend 6 million pounds on Grenfell, but later set a different budget of 9.7 million pounds, because it realized it needed to replace the heating system. Leadbitter was on course to spend 11.3 million pounds, which is why council says it put the contract back out.

Natalie Oxford, CC-SA-BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Guardian fund that the council had originally wanted to spend 6 million pounds on Grenfell, but later set a different budget of 9.7 million pounds, because it realized it needed to replace the heating system. Leadbitter was on course to spend 11.3 million pounds, which is why council says it put the contract back out.

“Kensington and Chelsea were inviting main contractors to express interest under a ‘design and build’ contract,” Peter Hillyard, director of D+B Facades, told The Guardian. “This was the last we heard and received no further requests from Rydon, who won the contract for the work.”

A previous dive into the 2016 renovation revealed that Reynobond PE (polyethylene) panels were used in the high-rise.

Manufacturer Omnis Exteriors confirmed that they supplied the Arconic Architectural Product to Harley Facades—the subcontractor that Rydon utilized for the cladding work.

   

Tagged categories: Accidents; Building Envelope; Cladding; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Fatalities; Fire; Fireproofing; Government; Government contracts

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