LIFE as far as private contractors are concerned is cheap!
It emerged yesterday that private contractors that refurbished Grenfell Tower a year before it burst into flames decided to use a cheaper cladding on the outside of the building which was not fire-proof.
For just £5,000 more the private contractors could have bought fire-proof cladding, but they would not splash out the extra cash choosing to save money rather than save lives. Hundreds of Reynobond aluminium coated panels – which are banned in the US over fire safety fears, were fitted to the outside of the London high-rise last year.
The building was covered in panels with a plastic core costing £22 per square metre, just £2 cheaper than the fire-resistant version. The contractors were awarded £8.6 million to refurbish Grenfell Tower, and as the death toll continues to rise furious survivors and family and friends of those who have died are angry that their safety and the safety of their loved ones was compromised for profit.
Thirty people are now confirmed to have perished in the fire and there are a further 76 people still unaccounted for. A salesman for US-based Reynobond told The Times that the version used on Grenfell, which has a polythene centre and is referred to as ‘PE’, was banned in American buildings taller than 40ft over fire safety reasons. It’s because of the fire and smoke spread,’ he said. ‘The FR (variant) is fire-resistant. The PE is just plastic.’
The PE version is used for small commercial buildings and petrol stations, he added, rather than tower blocks or hospitals. The panel with the plastic core sells for £22 per square metre – just £2 cheaper than the fire-resistant version.
Rough calculations suggest panels covered 2,000 square metres of Grenfell Tower, meaning contractors could have used the fire-resistant type for less than £5,000 extra. The PE panels conform to UK standards but are rated as ‘flammable’ in Germany. Labour MP David Lammy yesterday branded the Grenfell Tower blaze ‘corporate manslaughter’ and demanded arrests be made.