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Grenfell ACM cladding chosen on ‘appearance and price’ rather than fire safety

PLANS for the Grenfell Tower refurbishment focused more on the “appearance and price” of cladding than its fire safety, the inquiry into the disaster heard today.

Architect Tomas Rek, a former employee of the firm in charge of the refurbishments, said that budget concerns appeared to bring about the switch from the proposed zinc to the cheaper and more flammable aluminium composite material (ACM) panels.

The inquiry heard that combustible ACM panels were chosen in 2014 by architects Studio E in a bid to save £454,000 on the refit.

Mr Rek also admitted that he was unaware of several fire safety requirements for buildings and considered this a “subject outside of my competence.”

He is one of many architects giving evidence this month on the tower block fire that killed 72 people in June 2017.

The government finally announced a £1 billion fund yesterday to remove unsafe cladding from the hundreds of high-rise residential buildings still at risk more than 1,000 days after the disaster.


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