Planning documents detailing the refurbishment of a residential tower block in West London where at least 12 people died in a fire on Wednesday did not refer to a type of fire barrier that building safety experts said should be used when high rise blocks are being re-clad.
The local authority which owns Grenfell Tower in Kensington declined to confirm whether fire barriers were installed on most floors between the insulation panels attached to the exterior of the building as part of the renovation.
Rydon Group, the construction company which undertook the work, also declined to say whether they had been used, but said the revamp “met all required building control, fire regulation and health and safety standards.”
“We are shocked to hear of the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower and our immediate thoughts are with those that have been affected by the incident,” a Rydon spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
The government department in charge of regulating building work – the Department for Communities and Local Government – did not respond to Reuters’ questions, including whether such fire barriers were required by law.
It later issued a statement saying “it would not be appropriate to comment on the cause of the fire.”
Legal experts declined to express an opinion on whether fire barriers are required by law.
A 2012 planning document published by The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, which included detailed diagrams of the planned new panelling and the materials used in the new skin, did not include reference to the barriers, according to a Reuters review.