London Blaze Tower Fitted with Killer Cladding to Cut Cost

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The fatal decision to use the cheaper exterior cladding blamed for rapidly spreading the fire at Grenfell Tower was to reduce costs.

Killer cladding:

  • At least 80 deaths in Grenfell Tower blaze
  • Samples from 149 high-rise buildings all failed fire safety tests
  • Harley Curtain Wall went bust after fitting Grenfell Tower


Tolga Akmen/AFP

Renovation contractors working on the refurbishment of London’s Grenfell Tower were asked by the building’s managers to cut costs, with cheaper exterior cladding suggested as one alternative.

At least 80 people were killed in the inferno that consumed the tower last month, with the cladding blamed for spreading the fire throughout the 24-floor block.

An “urgent nudge email” sent to contractor Artelia UK from the Kensington and Chelsea tenant management organisation (KCTMO), which runs the tower block on behalf of the local council, said that “we need good costs” for council deputy leader Rock Feilding-Mellen, The Times reported.

One proposal was the use of aluminium panels rather than zinc, which is more fire-resistant, leading to a “saving of £293,368”.

Victims identified so far include a six-month-old baby, her eight-year-old sister and their parents, who lived on the 20th floor.

The baby was found in her dead mother’s arms.

The government revealed yesterday that cladding samples taken from 149 high-rise buildings in 45 local authority areas had all failed fire safety tests.

As part of an emergency fund, the government has announced that each household whose home was destroyed would receive at least £5,500 (6,250 euros, $7,130).

Checks are being conducted at hundreds of high-rises in Britain fitted with the same cladding which encased Grenfell Tower.

Grenfell Tower residents have expressed anger at the authorities’ handling of the fire, leading protesters on Jun 16 to storm the town hall which manages the social housing block, though there is no suggestion that fire safety concerns were ignored.

The Kensington and Chelsea Council on Thursday failed in an attempt to bar journalists from the first meeting of councillors since the disaster, and instead adjourned the meeting early.

Theresa May’s office condemned the aborted meeting, saying: “The High Court ruled that the meeting should be open and we would have expected the council to respect that.”

On Friday, Robert Black, chief executive of KCTMO, said he would resign in order to “concentrate on assisting with the investigation and inquiry.”