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Grenfell Tower Cladding Changed to Cheaper Type

Cladding fitted to Grenfell Tower during its refurbishment was changed to a cheaper version, documents obtained by the BBC suggest.

The type of cladding fitted to the Grenfell Tower during its 2014 refurbishment was changed to a less expensive, less fire resistant type, according to documents obtained by the BBC.

The external cladding on the high-rise block has been blamed for the rapid spread of the fire in which at least 80 people died.

The documents, leaked to the BBC by an unnamed source, show that contractors working for Kensington and Chelsea council were asked to change the cladding material from the proposed zinc panels with a fire-retardant core to a plastic-filled aluminium version, a change that also allowed the the panels to be a different colour.

One of the documents sent to contractors in July 2014 shows possible savings of £293,368 ($380,943) due to the change in cladding material, part of wider cost-cutting for the refurbishment that amounted to £693,161 ($900,080).

Tests are being carried out on cladding panels from buildings around the UK in the wake of the fire. On Friday, a government spokesperson said cladding from 149 high-rise residential blocks in 45 local authority areas had failed combustibility tests. Every panel tested so far failed.

The Sports Ground Safety Authority, which monitors safety at football fields, has written to clubs to ask them to check external cladding on stadiums.


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