This is tragic: a fire broke out in London’s Grenfell Tower in the early hours of yesterday morning.
What’s become apparent since then is the ongoing tragedy was potentially avoidable.
Tenants had formed the Grenfell Action Group to raise concerns to the council about the fire safety of the building, which had been refurbished by construction firm Rydon in 2015 -- only to be ignored.
The exterior of the tower was with an Aluminium Composite Material (ACM), the use of which had been warned against after being blamed for many similar fires around the world.
Rydon have already announced an investigation -- but we need full transparency now on their use of the material despite these warnings.
Experts have called the flammability of insulation panels the elephant in the room -- with companies increasingly using them to insulate tower blocks.
The recent refurbishment saw the building clad with “ACM cassette rainscreen” panels, an aluminium composite material covering insulation panels, which could have caused the fire to spread more quickly up the facade of the tower.
Arnold Tarling, a chartered surveyor and fire safety expert, said “The issue is that, under building regulations, only the surface of the cladding has to be fire-proofed to class 0, which is about surface spread. The stuff behind it doesn’t, and it’s this which has burned.”
After faulty wiring lead to dangerous power surges in the building only four years ago, The Grenfell Action Group had pleaded with the developers and the council, raising concerns about inadequate fire exits, sprinklers and emergency lighting.
Now, in the fresh light of this tragedy, Rydon have some serious questions to answer. The residents of Grenfell Tower deserve better than this. It’s time the truth came out about the Rydon redevelopment plans and their use of ACM panels -- to stop this sort of tragedy occurring again.
Rydon -- the eyes of the nation are on you. Investigate the use of ACM panels in the Grenfell Tower redevelopment!