Grenfell cladding manufacturer ‘assumes’ designers did not follow compliance

Arconic statement to public inquiry focuses on those responsible for the system’s design.

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The manufacturer of Grenfell Tower’s ACM cladding has told the public inquiry it had no information available that those responsible for the refurbishment employed an holistic fire engineering approach.

In its opening statement, Arconic maintained the “many deficiencies” in the tower seemed to make clear that no such approach was adopted.

Arconic outlined its “presumption” that those responsible for designing the cladding system did not follow “routes to compliance”.

In particular, Arconic observed that a linear route to compliance would clearly not have been available because the insulation was not of limited combustibility.

The manufacturer said that, in consequence, the compliance of the cladding system could not have been determined by the fire rating of any individual product but had to depend on an assessment of the cladding system as a whole.

The statement questioned whether there had been compliance with underlying obligations as dictated by the legislative requirement, and if the “purposive approach” to that legislation supports the existence of other routes to compliance.

Arconic said it had no information available to date that those responsible for the refurbishment employed an holistic fire engineering approach.

“Indeed, the many deficiencies in the building would seem to make clear that no such approach was adopted,” the statement said.

The organisation stressed its role was essentially to supply a product which required fabrication before installation.

It was, the statement said, the responsibility of others to decide whether or not to choose that product for a particular project.

And also:

  • How to specify and utilise that product
  • How to carry out the detailed design;
  • How to fabricate the product;
  • How to fit it to the external surface of the Tower;
  • How to combine it with other components
  • In every other respect, how to carry out the refurbishment.

Arconic interpreted the relevant regulatory regime as applying to the construction or refurbishment of the Tower – not the sale of one component of the cladding system.

“Those professionally involved in the construction or refurbishment of a building are expected to ensure that the combination of materials chosen for a particular project meets the stipulations or or is otherwise subject to an accepted method of compliance such as a holistic fire engineering assessment.

“The supplier of an individual product would be entitled to assume that this would be done,” the statement said.

The inquiry continues

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