Test results showing poor performance of the ACM façade panels used on the Grenfell Tower façade were not disclosed to BBA when the manufacturer applied for certification. This week the Grenfell Tower Inquiry learned that an email sent in 2010 revealing poor fire test results needed to be kept ‘very confidential’.
Arconic’s president in France, Claude Schmidt, answered questions about testing of ‘Reynobond PE 55’ panels in which showed a difference in fire performance between flat panels and those produced in ‘cassette’ form.
The 2005 test on the aluminium composite material (ACM) cassette panel, which had a polyethylene core, showed it burned 10 times as quickly and released seven times as much heat and three times as much smoke when shaped in this way.
But instead of warning customers, the Arconic French subsidiary AAP SAS considered the test as a ‘rogue result’ and continued to sell the product using the classification it achieved when tested as a flat panel.
The inquiry heard that an internal Arconic email in 2010 had stated that the results of the ‘rogue result’ fire test on ‘cassettes’ should be kept confidential.
When applying to BBA for a certificate to allow both panel versions to be sold on the UK high rise market, Arconic supplied only results from the flat panel test. However BBA require all available test data to be supplied.
The BBA issued Arconic with a certificate for both products stating that they achieved a Class 0 rating, the British equivalent of the Euroclass B rating.
Arconic’s Mr Schmidt, admitted to the Inquiry that the email suggested customers had been misled but it was not deliberate.