‘Grenfell sign-off by panel seller’
THE cladding specialist on the Grenfell Tower refurbishment delegated fire safety checks on the combustible insulation to “the very person who had made it and was selling it”, the inquiry into the blaze has heard.
Ray Bailey, director of external wall fitters Harley Facades, said the firm was “comfortable” using Celotex Rs5000 insulation because it was marketed as having passed the necessary fire test, marketed for use on high-rises, and had been specified for use on the project by the architects Studio E.
But he acknowledged “confusion” over terminology of fire safety ratings, which he said was “quite widespread” throughout the construction industry.
Mr Bailey, who has 35 years’ experience in external wall fitting, told the inquiry yesterday: “We were comfortable with Celotex for two reasons. First, the understanding that ‘Class 0 throughout’ meant it was of limited combustibility.
“Secondly, in addition to that it had passed a BS8414 test and we sent the details of the cladding system we were using to Celotex for them to approve.
“We were asking Celotex ‘this is what we’re using, are you happy with it?’ And they were.”
Inquiry lawyer Richard Millett QC asked: “Does it come to this – that you were delegating the sign-off or confirmation of the safety of this product to the very person who had made it and was selling it to you?”
Mr Bailey replied: “We wanted Celotex confirmation that they were happy for us to use it.”
Mr Millett said: “Was it not up to Harley to satisfy itself it was safe to use by making investigations?”
Mr Bailey replied: “Well we made the investigations with the manufacturer.”
He went on: “The product was specified by Studio E, Exova were their fire consultant so by the time the design was passed down to us Celotex was named.
“We took all proper and necessary means in our view to confirm what they had specified for us was correct.”
The inquiry continues.