London – PIR insulation was specified in the architects’ plans for exterior cladding, of the Grenfell Tower, London which burnt on 13 June 2017, killing at least 17, documents from the local authority show.
The fire, which started in the early hours of the morning of 13 June, is still being investigated, but TV news showed the fire spreading up the outside of the building and into the interior very rapidly.
Kensington and Chelsea, the London borough in which the tower is located, had it refurbished in a project that completed in 2015.
The Grenfell Tower regeneration project sustainability and energy statement, produced by Max Fordham architects, a key aim of the refurbishment was to insulate the tower which was built in the 1974. According to specifications on page six of the document, the walls were to be insulated with 150 mm (6 inches) Celotex FR 5000 above and around the windows. A panel of 100 mm Celotex FR 5000 was specified for the spaces between the windows on the exterior of the building.
According to the statement, the insulation was to be placed directly on to the existing concrete structure and protected from the elements by zinc panels separated from the panels by a 50 mm (2 inch) air gap.
According to Max Fordham Architects, the tower insulation was designed to exceed the then UK building regulations by 50% because, ‘insulation improvements may only happen once or twice in a building’s lifetime due to the complexity and disruption caused. For this reason, we are going over and above the current building regulations to ensure that the building continues to perform well into the future.’
UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, has ordered a public inquiry into the tragedy.