A report prepared as part of the police investigation into the Grenfell Tower fire has uncovered calamitous deficiencies in the installation of the windows, cavity barriers and cladding system, and their failure to meet building regulations.
The 210-page interim document, by fire investigation experts BRE Global, is set to dramatically assist the Metropolitan police in their wide-ranging investigation. It was leaked exclusively to the Standard and recounts in forensic detail how the original concrete building was turned from a safe structure into a tinderbox by the refurbishment between 2014 and 2016.
It not only finds the cladding material and insulation was combustible, but also exposes hitherto unknown areas of incompetence relating to the design and installation of the windows and cavity barriers. The latter are critical in closing the gap between the inner and outer skins of the building to prevent a chimney-like effect in the event of a blaze.
It reveals how in the early hours of June 14 last year, the fire started in a single fridge-freezer in a single flat on the fourth floor; travelled through an open window within a metre of the fridge; took hold in the cladding; and consumed an entire 24-storey, 70-metre-high building. A total of 71 lives were lost.