Tower’s cladding may have been illegal
The exterior cladding used in a renovation of London’s Grenfell Tower may have been banned under U.K. building regulations, two British ministers said Sunday as police continued their criminal investigation into an inferno that killed at least 58 people.
Greg Hands, the trade minister, said the government is carrying out an “urgent inspection” of about 2,500 similar tower blocks across Britain to assess their safety.
Experts think that the exterior cladding, which contained insulation, helped spread the flames quickly up the outside of the public housing tower on Wednesday morning. Some said they had never seen a building fire advance so quickly. The 24-story tower, which once housed as many as 600 people in 120 apartments, is now a charred ruin.
Hands and finance minister Philip Hammond said in separate TV appearances that the cladding used on Grenfell seems to be prohibited by British regulations. Hands cautioned that officials do not have exact details about the renovation that ended just last year.
Aluminum cladding with insulation sandwiched between two panels has been blamed for helping to spread flames in fires in many parts of the world.