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Grenfell Tower Disaster

The Grenfell Tower disaster is a tale of Victorian-era whitewashing.

In Victorian London, when the slum landlords who owned mass slums faced criticism for living standards, they white-washed their slums with cheap water-based paint instead of improving conditions – to give the impression of an improvement.

The Grenfell Tower faced a modern equivalent – Cheap exterior cladding to hide an unsightly 1970s tower block.

The aluminium composite cladding is made with 2 sheets of aluminium and a plastic core. The inner core is widely believed to be the reason the fire spread so quickly.


What is even more shocking is that the cheaper cladding isn’t fire resistant. Its trade name is ‘Reynobond PE’. The alternative ‘Reynobond FR’ is £2 per sqm more expensive. The FR in Reynobond FR literally means ‘FIRE RESISTANT’, yet the contractors chose the cheaper alternative to maximise profit without due care and attention to the safety of those living inside.

The tower was given a £10m refurbishment in May last year. The exterior of the 70s tower was modernised with cladding and replacement windows and additional homes were added using vacant space in the building.

Rydon Maintenence carried out the work and subcontracted some work to Harley Facades, who were responsible for the exterior cladding.

On its website, Rydon said:

‘Externally, rain screen cladding, curtain wall facade and replacement windows were fitted, improving thermal insulation and modernising the exterior of the building.
Ominous Exteriors manufactured the aluminium composite material, ACM that was used in the cladding.

Omnious Exteriors describes itself as a “leading UK manufacturer and supplier of exterior building products and systems”. Its website states: “With almost 400 multi-storey projects completed, you know that you are in good hands.”

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