Almost exactly a month ago, the SKWAWKBOX published a list of questions by a highly-qualified consulting engineer that demand answers if the real truth about the Grenfell Tower tragedy is to be known – and if those responsible are to be brought to account.
Those questions are today more relevant than ever, with the announcement by the Metropolitan Police that there are ‘reasonable grounds’ to suspect that the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea council (RBKC) and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) committed corporate manslaughter.
More relevant than ever because the answers to Paul Follows’ questions may mean that individuals – from architects and designers to government ministers – are criminally culpable as much as organisations.
Those questions are reproduced below and they demand answers. For Follows’ explanation and comments, see the original article:
- Why were there “power surges” in Grenfell Tower previously?
- When those power surges knocked out the electrics why did (residents claim) the emergency lights not come on?
- Why did KCTMO get their solicitor to write a “cease and desist” letter to the residents who wanted fire safety improvements and warned that a catastrophic fire could envelop them?
- How much more profit is there in one panel type compared with another?
- Who signed off procurement of the panels on behalf of the Council?
- Who specified the external windows?
- What risks were noted in the Designers Risk Assessment as not ‘designed out’ or non generic and remaining?
- Did the Contractors receive that?
- Was there a Tender process?
- If so did Rydon Construction win these Contracts on the back of the cheaper panels or was it a like for like tender process.
- Did the panel supplier know where the panels were being installed? Is their paperwork to prove that?
- Are current panel safety tests adequate?
- Do the panels give off sufficient volume of poisonous gases (eg cyanide) to kill.
- Are they tested for this?
- Were the panels ordered the same ones delivered?
- Were the ones delivered the ones fixed?
- Did any come from other sites? If so, were they the same as those ordered?
- Is the panel flammability tested on both faces and the inner polyethylenecore?
- Who makes the panels and what controls are there that the correct materials are used in the panel production?
- Have any Council or KCTMO employees received gifts etc from Rydon Construction? If so who, what, when, why, where?
- Are there any conflicts of interest between the Council, KCTMO and Rydon?
- Are all parties adequately experienced and trained?
- How many panels arrived on site together and where/how were they stored?
- Who designed the panel fixings…all panel questions above apply to the panel fixing components as well
- Were the cladding fixings secured to the building with chemical fixings that can melt in a fire?
- Collating various press releases there seems to be one Contractor who wins many of these panel/tower refurb Contracts in the public sector. The press articles link that company to the installation of the flammable panels. It will therefore be crucial to see how the design process plays out on these towers – so: was the Architect appointed for Building Regs stage?
- Is the responsibility for the choice of the specific panel passed to the Contractor?
- Is it a performance spec?
- Are they Contractor redesigns?
- Why is Grenfell Tower not approved?
- Are other towers also not approved?
- What Designers Risk Assessment did the Architect produce?
- What was the scope of assessment by the Fire Service? Was it adequate and comprehensive?
- Did Building Inspectors check panels and know of the issues.
- Why did KCTMO ignore residents’ request for non flammable panels?
- Why have the shocking panel fire tests been ignored (historic ones freely available on YouTube)
- Has the flue effect of the gap behind the panels been tested?
- Were party wall and party floor fire breaks designed behind the panels?
- Were they installed?
- Why was a “stay put” policy adopted with flammable panels and no sprinklers?
- Why did the emergency services reply with “stay put”?
As they proceed with interviews and their investigation into potential corporate manslaughter, the police need to make sure that they obtain answers to the above and consider individual responsibility as well, if justice is to be served.
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