The owner of the contractor that installed the cladding on Grenfell Tower has accused the manufacturer of misleading his company. Ray Bailey, director of Harley Façades, also said the use of Class O materials was causing widespread confusion in the industry because, although they are designed to reduce the surface spread of a fire, they can still contain flammable elements.
‘I think any form of combustible insulation or cladding should be banned immediately,’ he told the Grenfell public inquiry; adding that the current legislation was too complicated. He claimed he did not realise the material could burn and that Harley was not ‘ultimately responsible’ for ensuring the installation complied with the Building Regulations.
Bailey added that his firm was convinced by the cladding manufacturer Celotex, which is owned by Saint Gobain, that the combustible foam it supplied did comply. He said a salesperson from the company assured him that the ‘new super-duper insulation products’ were safe.
The inquiry has established that the Celotex RS5000 insulation and Kingspan Kooltherm K15 insulation fitted should not have been used on the Grenfell Tower refurbishment. These were rated as Class O, but not of ‘limited combustibility’. The styrofoam and Kingspan TP10 rigid insulation, which is usually used to insulate roofs, was used in panels around windows and was also not compliant.
However, Bailey told the inquiry that nobody in the industry would have done anything differently from his company and ‘nobody would have thought for one minute that anything we were doing was unsafe’. However, if he ‘could go back in time, armed with what I know now… none of it would be on the wall.’