The inquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster has heard how Rydon, the main contractor, overlooked a key fire safety document and how it relied on specialists regarding technical aspects and use of materials.
The inquiry learned this week that the Centre for Window and Cladding Technology’s (CWCT) Standard for Systemised Building Envelopes document should have been kept on-site under National Building Specifications (NBS).
The CWCT document indicates that ‘the building envelope shall not be composed of materials which readily support combustion, add significantly to the fire load, and/or give off toxic fumes’.
The inquiry barrister Richard Millett QC when questioning Simon Lawrence, Rydon’s contracts manager, established that the main contractor had direct design responsibility to ensure all the work complied with relevant specifications, codes of practice and statutory requirements of the Building Regulations 2010. – whether that work was carried out by its own staff or its subcontractors.
In his witness statement Mr Lawrence said: “Rydon did not have internal design expertise to double check each aspect of technical design. The contractual expectations required the subcontractors to produce a design or specify the use of a material that was both compliant with legal standards and suitable for the project.”
Challenged by Richard Millett QC about the CWCT document and why it was not kept on site Mr Lawrence said: “It obviously wasn’t picked up in all the documents we had to go through.”
Mr Lawrence, who was the contracts manager until October 2015, said that the amount of information involved in the project had led to it being missed. However, Rydon expected its design team, including the architect and cladding specialist, to advise on technical aspects and conforming with building regulations.