The French company that supplied the flammable cladding used on Grenfell Tower had already stopped selling the same product in its home market before the fire tragedy that claimed 72 lives in 2017.
Arconic ordered its French sales team to stop selling combustible ACM cladding Reynobond PE a year before the fire, but its UK sales manager denied receiving an instruction to stop selling it here. An internal email from the company’s sales director, Alain Flacon, telling his French sales teams to stop recommending the product because of flammability issues was shown to the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster.
Arconic’s managing director also told the inquiry that the cladding had never achieved the Class B fire rating claimed in its specification documents. Claude Schmidt said it was only after the fire that the company became aware of what was written in the fire test for Grenfell. He accepted responsibility for selling the cladding on a ‘false basis’, but said it was because of ‘incomplete information’.
He said the fire-classification information was not false, but ‘didn’t go into detail, it didn’t mention according to European standards the different reactions to fire’.
Schmidt said Arconic would have had a ‘basic understanding’ of the regulations where it was selling its products, but would not have detailed knowledge of the building regulations in each market.