Cheaper Cladding Found in Grenfell Tower After Deadly Accident

Recent sources have shown that the contractors working on behalf of Kensington and Chelsea Council changed the cladding of the Grenfell Tower from zinc cladding to a cheaper aluminium version in a refurbishment in 2014, the BBC reported. It was also revealed that a document sent to contractors in July 2014 claimed that the project could potentially save up to £693,161 and that there would be an overall saving on the contract from around £9.2 million to about £8.5 million.

The Times newspaper reported that contractors had received an ‘urgent nudge email’ regarding the refurbishment, urging them to provide ‘good costs’ on cladding. According to the planning papers there was a suggestion that the original plan proposed zinc cladding with a mineral-rich “fire-retardant polyethylene core”. It was then changed to aluminium cladding with a polyethylene core, which tragically proved to be combustible in recent government tests. Both products have met the European fire resistance standard, but the aluminium panels ranked unsatisfactory in terms of smoke emission.

Nick Paget-Brow, Kensington and Chelsea Council leader, stepped down as he said that he had to take the responsibility for ‘perceived failings’ by the Council after the tragedy.

The British Government later acknowledged that the cladding from 149 tower blocks had failed fire safety tests across 45 local authority areas. Tests are being carried out on a national level and so far 600 buildings had been examined.