The construction company charged with installing the cladding and insulation on Grenfell Tower received a 47.5% discount for the Celotex insulation used on the block, it was revealed today.
As part of evidence presented at the Grenfell Inquiry today, an invoice for Harley Facades’ purchase of the Celotex RS5000 insulation used on the tower was shown to Daniel Anketell-Jones, design manager at the cladding contractor.
The invoice, which was issued by SIG, a supplier of insulation and specialist construction products, costed the full order of the Celotex RS5000 product as £45,804, with a discount of 47.50% included.
Celotex’s RS5000 product was launched in August 2014 and was marketed as being able to be used on buildings above 18m.
It was the first Celotex insulation product that had passed a test clearing its way for installation on buildings above 18m, but should only have been used in combination with non-combustible cement fibre cladding.
Inquiry chair Sir Martin Moore-Bick concluded in his phase one report that the Celotex RS5000 insulation “more likely than not” contributed to the spread of fire up Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017.
When asked by counsel Kate Grange if he was aware that Harley had secured any discount for this form of insulation, Mr Anketell-Jones answered no. He was also unable tell the inquiry whether the discount had come from Celotex through SIG.
Ms Grange asked whether the reason Harley promoted using the RS5000 product on Grenfell Tower was because “you would receive a very significant discount”.
He said: “I wasn’t aware of it. The only reasons that RS5000 would have been put forward on any project were that we being told it was appropriate to use [on buildings above] above 18m and was one of the few insulation products that was capable of achieving high performance requirements, and that would have been sent to architects and building control for approval.”
The inquiry was also shown a reply by Terry Ashton, senior fire engineer at consultancy firm Exova, to a formal request for information from Harley to know the extent of horizontal fire breaks required within the cladding areas.
The inquiry discussed these emails at length during Mr Ashton’s evidence, but Ms Grange grilled Mr Anketell-Jones on his understanding of a response for Mr Ashton regarding the ‘Class 0’ classification of the insulation.
This rating – despite being prominently advertised by Celotex – is irrelevant in regard to insulation on high rises which is required to meet the tougher standard of ‘limited combustibility’.
Mr Ashton did not spell this out but did warn that even if the insulation is Class 0, it is not necessarily non-combustible and that some Class 0 products will burn when exposed to a fully developed fire.
Mr Anketell-Jones said he did not understand the differences between the classifications and it did not cause him to reconsider using RS500 on Grenfell, because he was under the impression that the architect and fire engineer had already approved the Celotex product.
He also confirmed that he did not raise the potential combustibility of the insulation with anyone at Rydon or Studio E or Exova and did not take any steps after Mr Ashton’s email to check whether the insulation was compliant.
Mr Anketell-Jones added: “As far as I was concerned it had already been checked for compliance by people who understood it far better than me.”
The Grenfell Tower Inquiry continues.
Week one: A vivid picture of a broken industry
After a week of damning revelations at the opening of phase two of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, Peter Apps recaps the key points
Week two: What is the significance of the immunity application?
Sir Martin Moore-Bick has written to the attorney general requesting protection for those set to give evidence at the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. Peter Apps explains what the move means
Week three: Architects of misfortune
This week saw the lead architects for the Grenfell Tower refurbishment give evidence to the inquiry. Peter Apps runs through the key points
Week four: ‘I didn’t have any perception that it was the monster it’s become’
The architects continued to give evidence this week, outlining a lack of understanding of the fire risk posed by the cladding materials and its design. Nathaniel Barker reports
Week five: ‘No adverse effect in relation to external fire spread’
As the Grenfell Tower Inquiry returns from its long absence, Peter Apps recaps the key points from a week of important evidence from the fire consultants to the refurbishment
Week six: ‘I can’t recall any instance where I discussed the materials with building control’
Nathaniel Barker summarises what we learned from fire engineers Exova, architects Studio E and the early evidence from contractor Rydon
Week seven: ‘I do not think I have ever worked with a contractor operating with this level of nonchalance’
Two key witnesses from contractor Rydon gave evidence this week. Peter Apps recaps some of the key points from a revealing week of evidence
Week eight: ‘It haunts me that it wasn't challenged’
Four witnesses from contractor Rydon gave evidence this week. Lucie Heath recaps what we learned on the last week of evidence before the inquiry breaks for five weeks
Week nine: ‘All I can say is you will be taken out for a very nice meal very soon’
This week the inquiry heard evidence from witnesses at Harley Facades, the sub-contractor responsible for Grenfell Tower’s cladding. Peter Apps recaps the key points
Week 10: ‘As we all know, ACM will be gone rather quickly in a fire!’
As the Grenfell Tower Inquiry entered its 10th week, Jack Simpson recaps the key points from a week of important evidence from the refurbishment’s cladding contractor
Week 11: ‘Did you get the impression Grenfell Tower was a guinea pig for this insulation?’
With witnesses from the cladding subcontractor, the firm which cut the deadly panels to shape and the clerk of works which inspected the job giving evidence this was week full of revelations. Peter Apps recaps the key points
Week 12: ‘Would you accept that was a serious failing on your part?’
With the surveyor who inspected Grenfell Tower for compliance giving evidence, this was a crucial week from the inquiry. Dominic Brady and Peter Apps report
Week 13: ‘Value for money is to be regarded as the key driver for this project’
With consultants to Kensington & Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) giving evidence, attention at the Grenfell Tower Inquiry turned for this first time to the actions of the TMO and the council. Peter Apps reports
Week 14: ‘Did it not occur to you at this point that your budget was simply too low?’
This week, for the first time in phase two, the inquiry heard from Kensington & Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, the landlord that oversaw the fatal refurbishment of Grenfell Tower. Lucie Heath reports
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