‘A manager at the firm that made the cladding used on Grenfell Tower warned in 2011 that it was ‘dangerous’ and ‘should have been discontinued a decade ago’, an inquest has heard.
Bereaved families and friends filled the packed hearing room in Paddington, where the inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick opened phase two of the investigation into the Grenfell tragedy today.
The inquiry’s chief lawyer accused corporate companies of pointing the finger at each other over the disaster, without accepting any blame.
Seventy two people died as a result of the blaze at the west London block, after an electrical fault with a fridge freezer sparked a catastrophic fire.
Built in 1974, the tower was extensively refurbished between 2012 and 2016, most significantly when flammable aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding was wrapped over its concrete exterior.
Rydon, the main contractor, said the providers of the cladding and insulation, Arconic and Celotex, had misled buyers into believing their products were safe for use on high-rises despite appearing to know of the dangers.
An internal report from an Arconic director in 2011 noted the material Reynobond PE was ‘dangerous on facades and everything should be transferred to (FR) fire resistant as a matter of urgency’, according to counsel for Rydon Marcus Taverner QC.
The email, sent by the certification manager at Arconic, Claude Wehrle, read: ‘[This] is dangerous on faces and everything should transferred to FR as a matter of urgency. It should have been discontinued over 10 years ago.’
It added: ‘This opinion is technical and anti-commercial it seems.’