Poor build­ing work ‘fu­elled Gren­fell fire’

The Guardian Weekly - - Uk News - Robert Booth

The Gren­fell Tower fire was fu­elled by botched build­ing work that went well be­yond the use of flammable cladding pan­els, a study for the Met­ro­pol­i­tan po­lice has re­port­edly re­vealed.

Gaps around win­dows, wrongly fit­ted cav­ity bar­ri­ers meant to stop fire, and dozens of miss­ing door closers helped to spread rather than limit the fire in June 2017 that re­sulted in the deaths of 71 peo­ple, ac­cord­ing to de­tails that emerged on Mon­day.

A sur­vivors’ group, Gren­fell United, said the find­ings were shock­ing. The anal­y­sis comes as the more than 530 core par­tic­i­pants in the pub­lic in­quiry di­gest a se­ries of con­fi­den­tial tech­ni­cal re­ports com­mis­sioned by the in­quiry chair­man, Sir Mar­tin Moore-Bick. In par­al­lel, Scot­land Yard is in­ves­ti­gat­ing the blaze and has said it is con­sid­er­ing pos­si­ble man­slaugh­ter and cor­po­rate man­slaugh­ter charges.

The tech­ni­cal re­port for de­tec­tives was drawn up by BRE Global, a build­ing re­search com­pany that runs fire test­ing in the UK. It re­port­edly iden­ti­fied mul­ti­ple “de­fi­cien­cies” in the £10m ($14m) re­cladding of Gren­fell Tower be­tween 2014 and 2016, car­ried out on be­half of the Kens­ing­ton and Chelsea Ten­ant Man­age­ment Or­gan­i­sa­tion, the so­cial hous­ing arm of the Royal Bor­ough of Kens­ing­ton and Chelsea.

Cav­ity bar­ri­ers that are meant to ex­pand and seal gaps be­tween con­crete sur­faces and cladding in the event of fire were of “in­suf­fi­cient size spec­i­fi­ca­tion”, it is re­ported. They were de­signed to close a 25mm gap but were in­stalled with a 50mm gap. Some were in­stalled up­side down or back to front and the fail­ures “pro­vided a route for fire spread”.

There were gaps of 15cm be­tween win­dow frames and con­crete col­umns that were filled by rub­ber mem­brane, foam in­su­la­tion and plas­tic pan­els. The re­port said this al­lowed “a di­rect route for fire spread”. It meant the first ob­sta­cle the fire en­coun­tered as it es­caped flat 16 was the win­dow frame, which pro­vided “fuel”, not a bar­rier.

Scot­land Yard and BRE Global were yet to com­ment on the re­port.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.