Shoddy facelift to blame for ALL 71 Gren­fell deaths

Orig­i­nal 1970s block well built to avoid risk of fire spread­ing in flats Botched facelift to blame for all 71 deaths, claims re­port by ex­perts

Daily Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - BY NICK SOMMERLAD In­ves­ti­ga­tions Ed­i­tor nick.sommerlad@mir­ror.co.uk

NOT a sin­gle life would have been lost in Gren­fell Tower if it has not been cov­ered in cladding dur­ing a re­fur­bish­ment, a damn­ing leaked re­port claims.

Ex­perts work­ing for Lon­don’s Metropoli­tan Po­lice found the orig­i­nal 1970s con­crete, metal and tim­ber de­sign pro­vided “very high lev­els of pas­sive fire pro­tec­tion”.

But sub­stan­dard ma­te­ri­als and bodged fixes dur­ing an £8.6mil­lion re­fur­bish­ment al­lowed flames from a fridge-freezer fire to rapidly spread, killing 71 peo­ple, in­clud­ing Isaac Pau­los, five, last June 14.

One spe­cial­ist ar­chi­tect told Lon­don’s Even­ing Stan­dard: “The ques­tion is, could this fire have been avoided? This damn­ing re­port is say­ing it ab­so­lutely could have been and that the re­furb was to blame.”

Cor­po­rate man­slaugh­ter charges may now fol­low next month’s judge-led in­quiry.

BRE Global, which runs fire test­ing in the UK, found ma­te­ri­als and in­su­la­tion used in cladding were com­bustible and “cav­ity bar­ri­ers” be­tween the cladding used to close a 50mm gap only ex­panded 25mm – cre­at­ing a deadly “chim­ney ef­fect” up the build­ing. Faulty or miss­ing door catches also helped the fire spread.

BRE’s re­port dated Jan­uary 31, 2018 states: “Gren­fell Tower, as orig­i­nally built, ap­pears to have been de­signed on the premise of pro­vid­ing very high lev­els of pas­sive fire pro­tec­tion. The orig­i­nal fa­cade... com­pris­ing ex­posed con­crete and likely tim­ber or metal frame win­dows, would not have pro­vided a medium for fire spread up the ex­ter­nal sur­face.” It adds: “In BRE’s opin­ion there would have been lit­tle op­por­tu­nity for a fire in a flat of Gren­fell Tower to spread to any neigh­bour­ing flats.”

New win­dow frames were 15cm too small, with rub­berised mem­brane, rigid foam in­su­la­tion and uPVC light­weight plas­tic pan­els used to fill gaps. The re­port said that “none of the ma­te­ri­als used would be ca­pa­ble of pro­vid­ing 30 min­utes’ fire re­sis­tance” and, cru­cially, this al­lowed “a di­rect route for fire spread around the win­dow frame into the cav­ity of the fa­cade… and from the fa­cade back into flats”.

Ten months on, only seven other tower blocks with dan­ger­ous cladding have had it re­placed.

The Royal Bor­ough of Kens­ing­ton and Chelsea coun­cil agreed to the re­fit – partly to make it more at­trac­tive to mil­lion­aires liv­ing in nearby con­ser­va­tion ar­eas.

It was car­ried out by Ry­don Con­struc­tion from 2014-2016. Sur­vivor’s group Gren­fell United said: “It was clear to us the re­fur­bish­ment was shoddy and sec­ond rate. We raised con­cerns time and time again. We were not just ig­nored but bul­lied to keep quiet.” John Healey MP, Labour’s Shadow Sec­re­tary of State for Hous­ing, said: “It de­mands a re­sponse from Gov­ern­ment to make sure it never hap­pens again.”

RBKC, which has handed over thou­sands of doc­u­ments, said: “We are com­mit­ted to find­ing the truth.”

BLAZE Gren­fell de­stroyed by killer in­ferno GAPS AROUND FRAMES Wrong size win­dows al­lowed flames into wall cav­ity VIC­TIM Isaac Pau­los, 5, died in the in­ferno CAV­ITY BAR­RIER GAPS In­ad­e­quate ma­te­rial too small to halt fire spread­ing DOOR TO WASTE CHUTE...

SHOCK­ING Mir­ror’s re­port on killer blaze and faulty cladding

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