The Public Inquiry into the Grenfell tower tragedy in London was told that the fire engineer who advised that the works on the building would not raise the risk of fire, did not look at the plans that showed the aluminium cladding panels on the tower.
Terry Ashton, a fire engineer at Exova, the company that was contracted to give fire safety advice, admitted that he had received plans via email that included detailed designs to overclad the building with aluminium panels, but he did not open it. The panels are now considered to have been the main accelerant of the fire on 14 June 2017.
Ashton provided a fire safety strategy where he concluded that the proposed building works would have “no adverse effect” on an external fire spread, but makes no mention of any plans to reclad the tower. The engineer, however, denies abdicating responsibility by not checking the plans, because he claims he was not “specifically asked to” and they are “very lengthy documents”.
He was asked by Counsel to the inquiry, Kate Grange QC, if he considered that his failure to read through the documents gave the design team at Studio E architects a “false sense of security”. He agrees that they “might have thought that” but they should have also checked with Exova. Ashton claims the architects never opened a dialogue “They didn’t ask me, ‘Is everything OK?”.
The inquiry into the disaster that claimed 72 lives, continues.