London — Kingspan Kooltherm K15 phenolic panels were used in the insulation of the Grenfell Tower, to the firm’s surprise it said in a UK TV Channel 4 News broadcast on 10 July 2017.
The Grenfell Tower to the west of London was the site of a fatal fire in late June. Investigations are underway into the 79 deaths which have so far been attributed to it. London’s Metropolitan Police said that the investigation could last for years and that it is the largest ever carried out outside of terrorism. Officers have seized over 20 terabytes of information so far.
The Met said that it estimated that 255 people survived the fire, and 14 tower block residents were not at home when the fire occurred.
Reacting to questions from Channel 4 News, Kingspan said: ‘Kingspan had no involvement in either the design or the specification of the refurbishment of the Grenfell Tower facade, and neither Kingspan insulated panels or Kingspan facade systems were used on Grenfell Tower.
‘To the best of our knowledge, the vast majority of the insulation used for the façade refurbishment was PIR (polyisocyanurate) that had no connection whatever with Kingspan. However, subsequent to the Grenfell tragedy we became aware that a very small quantity of Kingspan Kooltherm K15 (less than 5% of the estimated total external insulation used on the Tower) was (…) involved in the refurbishment.
‘Whilst we are still seeking to establish the facts of what occurred, it appears that Kooltherm K15 may have been used as a component in some of the ventilated rainscreen system that was used to upgrade the Grenfell Tower façade, however we have not been able to fully confirm how it was used.
‘We are, however, extremely surprised to find our phenolic insulation product may have been used alongside a PIR board.
‘Kooltherm K15 has been successfully tested as a component in a range of ventilated rainscreen systems, to BS 8414–1: 2002 and BS 8414–2: 2005, as required by one route to compliance with the Building Regulations for buildings above 18 metres. So far as we are aware, Kooltherm K15 has never been tested with a standard polyethylene (PE) core Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) panel, and we would be very surprised if such a system combining a PE core with any insulation material would ever pass the appropriate BS 8414 large scale test.
‘As we have stated before, given our focus on fire safety, the use of Kooltherm K15 in construction systems that are non-compliant with Building Regulations would never be acceptable to Kingspan. Kingspan is very confident that properly installed and specified our products deliver safe, reliable and energy efficient insulation solutions.
‘Given the ongoing investigations by relevant authorities into the Grenfell Tower fire it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.’