Grenfell Tower: Using fire-resistant cladding on Kensington block 'would have cost £5,000 extra'

Type of panels used on flats building reportedly banned in US on tall structures

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The Independent Online

Installing fire-resistant cladding at Grenfell Tower would have cost just £5,000 extra, it has been claimed, after the spotlight fell on the building's facade as a factor in Wednesday's devastating fire.

The Kensington tower block was totally incinerated in the blaze and at least 17 people were killed. It was refurbished in 2016 at a cost of about £8.6m and new aluminium panels were added to the exterior.

A salesman for the US company Reynobond, which produces the panels, told The Times the type of material believed to have been used on Grenfell Tower was banned on tall buildings in the US “because of the fire and smoke spread”.

According to the paper, a flammable version with a plastic core was used at Grenfell Tower, in place of a fire-resistant one that cost £2 more per square metre.

Kensington and Chelsea council documents show the refurbishment, which also included new windows, was intended to provide better insulation and energy efficiency.

Rydon Construction, which refurbished the building, said that it was confident the construction was up to standards.

It said it was "shocked to hear of the devastating fire" but that all the work "met all required building control, fire regulation and health & safety standards".

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has demanded a public inquiry, ordered by the Government, produce an interim report so residents and politicians can get answers sooner about how the disaster happened.

And thousands of homes in tower blocks across the UK are undergoing urgent safety reviews following the fire.

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