Documents suggest cladding on Grenfell Tower was changed to cheaper version

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The BBC has revealed documents showing the cladding on Grenfell Tower was changed from zinc to a less fire resistant aluminium

Documents obtained by the BBC have revealed zinc cladding originally proposed for the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower was replaced with an aluminium type. This saved nearly £300,000, but the material was said to be less fire resistant.

The BBC said there was no suggestion in the documentation this decision was taken to cut fire safety.

Cutting costs

In 2014, contractors working on behalf of Kensington and Chelsea Council were asked to replace zinc with aluminium cladding. This, according to one document, was estimated to save £293,368. Overall savings for the project totalled £693,161, reducing the costs of the project from £9.2m to £8.5m.

The attempt to reduce the cost of the refurbishment was driven by the council and the local tenant management organisation. Minutes from a council meeting in 2013 showed there were concerns over the amount of spending on the project. The initially-preferred contractor was replaced after further bids were invited and a new contractor was appointed in 2014. This contractor was asked to make savings on the projects, including on the cost of the cladding.

The investigation into the fire is ongoing. Yesterday, it was confirmed Sir Martin Moore-Bick, former Court of Appeal judge, would lead the public inquiry into the disaster.

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