Grenfell Tower: Celotex updates and information

IMPORTANT: On 23 June 2017, in view of the focus on components of rainscreen cladding systems, Celotex stopped the supply of Celotex RS5000, pending further clarity. Material such as product downloads & specifications is for information only. Celotex do not currently supply a solution for buildings over 18 metres.

Here you will find the latest statements and information focussing on our response to the Grenfell Tower fire


As you may have seen, the BBC’s Panorama programme from 21 May 2018 focused on the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower and raised certain allegations in connection with the Celotex business. We take these allegations extremely seriously.

It is important to note that, as was mentioned in the programme, the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and the Police investigation are on-going. We have been, and will continue to fully co-operate with these official processes. It is absolutely right that we continue to do this; all of the issues raised in the programme, and many more, will be investigated in detail. The Inquiry has stated its aim of establishing the facts relating to the Grenfell Tower fire, an exercise which involves the consideration of many different parties and complex inter-related issues.

During the programme a new allegation was made that Celotex had added fire retardant to the formula of a product sample which was used for a safety certificate and that a different product to this was actually sold.  Prior to Panorama raising this, we were unaware of this allegation and had not identified anything which would support it.  Celotex is investigating this allegation via all avenues as a matter of urgency.

Celotex has not used any special formulation for the recent successful BS-8414 system test in May 2018 or Class 0 fire testing.  It is very hard to understand the Panorama allegation alongside those tests.

The current management of Celotex are absolutely determined to do the right thing. That means cooperating fully with the Inquiry and other official investigations, and sharing with them all relevant material.  We will continue to provide updates as appropriate.

As the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire approaches, we continue to express our deepest sympathies to the families of all those who lost their lives in the fire and to everyone who was and remains affected by it.

In January 2018, Celotex announced that its current management team had determined that there had been differences between the rainscreen cladding system which had been tested under BS 8414:2 in May 2014 (which included RS5000) and the description of that system in the report of the test published in August 2014.

Following this, we commissioned a further test under BS 8414:2, which aimed to mirror, as closely as possible, the system as described in the August 2014 report. The test was carried out on this specific rainscreen cladding system which uses cement boards amongst other products on 4 April 2018.

The test results show that the rainscreen cladding system tested (which included RS5000) met the performance criteria specified in BR 135 1. We are taking steps to notify the relevant bodies and contact our customers to inform them of the results of this test.

We understand that a rainscreen cladding system using RS5000 also passed the DCLG 2 test 5 3 in August 2017.

The decision to suspend the supply of RS5000 was taken on 23 June 2017 and remains in place.

We are following the independent review of building regulations and fire safety, and the comments from the industry and its stakeholders around testing. We continue to offer full cooperation with the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and related investigations.

1  BR 135 – Fire performance of external thermal insulation for walls of multi-storey buildings, Third Edition, 2013. BR 135 specifies the performance criteria for the test methodology outlined in BS 8414:2

2 Now known as the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government

3 BS 8414:1 

In 2014, Celotex launched the PIR rigid board insulation product RS5000 for use in rainscreen cladding systems for buildings above 18m. In advance of the product being launched, the company commissioned full system fire performance tests for a rainscreen cladding system which were carried out pursuant to BS 8414:2.

RS5000 was used as external insulation as part of the rainscreen cladding system in the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower. We took the decision to suspend supply shortly after the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower and this suspension remains in place.

The company has been conducting a detailed review of the way RS5000 was tested and marketed. The current management team has only recently determined that there were differences between the system as tested for BS 8414:2 and the description of that system in the report of the test. These differences were carried through into our marketing of RS5000.

Our priority is to establish whether there are any safety issues arising from these differences. We have notified the relevant bodies and are taking steps to speak with our customers. We understand that in August 2017, a sample of the same product was used in a full rainscreen cladding system that passed the DCLG 1 test 2. Nevertheless, we are arranging further testing which will assist in clarifying the issue.

It is a matter of real regret for us that this issue has arisen: we fully recognise its potential seriousness and that it will give rise to concern. We are working hard to arrange the further testing as quickly as possible and we will make a further announcement once the results of that testing are available.

1  Now known as the Ministry for Housing, Communities & Local Government.
2  BS 8414-1

We support the Government’s ongoing response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy, and the steps being taken to restore public confidence in construction methods, the selection of products and materials and the safety of tall buildings.

We continue to offer full cooperation with the investigations which are considering a broad range of factors, such as building construction and the fire safety measures in place. The Government is also undertaking large scale testing of aluminium composite material cladding systems, through the Building Research Establishment [BRE] which aims to establish how different types of ACM panels, in combination with different types of insulation, behave in a fire. We will be reviewing closely the results of the first test released on 28th July, together with the remaining tests in the series which will take place over the next few weeks.

We have been supplying PIR for over 40 years, and have always focussed on supplying safe insulation products to make better buildings.

Celotex is shocked by the tragic events of the Grenfell Tower fire. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this devastating human tragedy. We have been supplying building products for over forty years and as a business our focus has always been to supply safe insulation products to make better buildings.

We want to do everything that we can to support the Government’s ongoing response to the tragedy. We continue to offer our full cooperation with the investigations.
Celotex notes the comments made by Scotland Yard at this morning’s briefing in respect of the insulation used in Grenfell Tower. In view of the focus on rainscreen cladding systems and the insulation forming part of them, Celotex believes that the right thing to do is to stop the supply of Celotex RS5000 for rainscreen cladding systems in buildings over 18m tall with immediate effect (including in respect of ongoing projects), pending further clarity.

Celotex manufactures and supplies the insulation product RS5000 for use in multicomponent rainscreen cladding systems for buildings over 18m tall.  Safety testing was undertaken on RS5000 as part of a particular rainscreen cladding system and this is described in documents available on our website. As noted in those documents, any changes to components of the cladding system or construction methods used need to be considered by the relevant building designer.
Given the developments of the past twenty four hours, we wish to discuss with the authorities how we can restore confidence in the products that we supply to the above 18m market.

At this early stage, it would not be appropriate for Celotex to make any further comment at this time.

For all media enquiries please call: 07387 411972

As with the rest of the nation our thoughts continue to be with those affected by the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower in London. On Wednesday, as soon as we were able to, we confirmed that our records showed a Celotex product (RS5000) was purchased for use in refurbishing the building. We wanted to provide an update to that statement and provide further information as we are able to.

It is important to state that Celotex manufacture rigid board insulation only. We do not manufacture, supply or install cladding. Insulation is one component in a rainscreen system, and is positioned in that system behind the cladding material.

As we previously stated, our records show a Celotex product (RS5000) was purchased for use in refurbishing the building. This product has a fire rating classification of Class 0, in accordance with British Standards. Celotex RS5000 is the insulation component specifically tested as part of a system to British Standard BS8414-2:2005. When the system is designed and installed in line with this, RS5000 meets the criteria set out in BRE Report BR 135 ‘Fire performance of external thermal insulation for walls of multi storey buildings.’

We will of course assist the relevant authorities fully with any enquiries they have.

Our thoughts are with those affected by the terrible fire at Grenfell Tower in London. Our records show a Celotex product (RS5000) was purchased for use in refurbishing the building.

Full technical information on all of our products is available here on our website. If required, we will assist with enquiries from the relevant authorities at the appropriate time. Due to the nature of this developing situation it would be inappropriate for us to comment or speculate further on this tragedy.

Grenfell Fire - Questions and answers

What was Celotex’s role in relation to Grenfell Tower?

We were shocked by the tragic events of the Grenfell Tower fire. Our thoughts remain with everyone affected by this devastating human tragedy. We want to do everything that we can to support the Government’s ongoing response and continue to offer our full cooperation with the investigations.

Our records show that we sold a quantity of a PIR (Polyisocyanurate) insulation product, Celotex RS5000, through distributors and our understanding is that this was for on-sale and for use in the Grenfell Tower refurbishment project in 2015.

We did not install any of the materials in Grenfell Tower and Celotex do not manufacture, supply or install cladding.
We have been supplying building products since 1925 and supplying PIR for over forty years. As a business our focus has always been to supply safe insulation products to make better buildings.

What product did Celotex supply in the Grenfell refurbishment?

Our records show that we sold a quantity of RS5000 through distributors which we believe was for on-sale to use in the Grenfell Tower refurbishment project in 2015.

RS5000 is a PIR insulation product for use in multicomponent rainscreen cladding systems on buildings with a storey height of above 18m. Fire safety testing was undertaken on RS5000 as part of a particular rainscreen cladding system and this is described in documents available on our website and this microsite.

The reasons why the Grenfell fire spread as it did are currently unclear but will be established through the various investigations and inquiries which are underway. These investigations and inquiries will consider a broad range of factors, such as the building construction and the fire safety measures in place. It is not simply the choice of materials but the construction of the building and the way in which all components of the rainscreen cladding system have been used which will be important.

What steps have we taken following the Grenfell fire?

Following the Grenfell fire, we checked our records and made an announcement as soon as we understood that we had supplied PIR insulation panels through distributors for the Grenfell Tower refurbishment.

We have made clear that we will fully co-operate with all enquiries from the relevant authorities.

On 23 June 2017, in view of the focus on components of rainscreen cladding systems, we felt that the right thing to do was to stop the supply of Celotex RS5000 (including in respect of ongoing projects), pending further clarity. We will consider carefully the results of the series of ongoing DCLG tests into aluminium composite material rainscreen cladding systems in this context.

RS5000 – Questions and answers

How did you develop RS5000?

The 5000 series products are marketed by application for a variety of uses. All products in the 5000 series share the same foam core, and are available in different thicknesses and sizes. The facer and finishes may vary according to the intended application. The constituent elements used for FR5000 and RS5000 are the same.

Both products have been independently tested. In 2011, the material used for FR5000 and RS5000 was tested for compliance with British Standard 476, Parts 6 and 7 (for spread of flame and fire propagation), and on the basis of these tests was classified Class 0.

Celotex marketed FR5000 from the summer of 2011 for pitched roofing, walls and floors in thicknesses between 25-150mm. In 2014, we considered how we might supply the over 18m market, which is subject to additional requirements. We determined, through additional independent testing, that the product we had marketed for the below 18m market as FR5000 also met the standard required for the above 18m market for the circumstances and parameters of the test conducted. When the test had been obtained, Celotex marketed the product as RS5000 in thicknesses between 50-150mm, with client-facing information showing that it was intended for use in a rainscreen cladding system for buildings over 18m tall and explaining the testing undertaken.

We are continuing to supply FR5000 for its intended applications. We are not currently supplying FR5000 if we know that a customer wishes to use it in a rainscreen cladding system or external facade for a building above 18m, for the same reason that we have stopped the sale of RS5000.

PIR has been used as insulation for around 40 years. The use of PIR insulation in buildings below 18m is governed by different regulatory requirements and raises different issues to its use in rainscreen cladding systems for buildings over 18m. The reasons why we decided to stop supply of RS5000 pending further clarity do not apply to the use of our products in the below 18m market.

How did Celotex test RS5000?

RS5000 is manufactured to a harmonised European Standard and carries a CE marking.

In 2011, the material used to manufacture RS5000 was tested under British Standard 476, Parts 6 and 7. These independent tests measure spread of flame and fire propagation (a measure of potential contribution to fire growth). The combination of these two test results leads to a Class 0 fire rating as defined in Approved Document B (guidance for Building Regulations). The material used for RS5000 has been classified Class 0. This is the highest national product performance classification for lining materials under the national fire rating system.

Celotex also submitted RS5000 as part of a rainscreen cladding system for a fire test applicable to buildings with a storey height of above 18m. It was assessed by reference to that test (British Standard 8414-2: 2005) on 2 May 2014 for the circumstances and parameters of the test with the report being issued on 1 August 2014.

You can find details about the use of RS5000 here and our product testing in a rainscreen cladding system here. You can also find a health and safety data sheet that applies to all our products here. This information states that the fire performance and classification report was issued in relation to the components specified. Any changes to those components or to the construction methods used will need to be considered by the building designer.

What happens when RS5000 is burned?

Celotex RS5000 is an organic product and in common with all organic materials (which are contained in furnishings, some building materials, paint and other household products) it is combustible under certain conditions. During combustion, like all other organic materials, it releases toxic gases.

Will RS5000 that has been installed in other projects now have to be removed?

This is not a product recall. The decision as to whether or not to remove RS5000 which has already been installed is one which the building owner must take in conjunction with the designer, contractor and advice from relevant authorities.

When will RS5000 be available again?

A decision as to whether and when to commence resupply can only be taken once there is greater clarity, including through the various tests and investigations underway. It is not possible, as of today, to be able to say when such a decision will be made.

I live in a tower block with cladding. Should I worry?

The cause of the Grenfell Tower fire and the reasons why it spread as it did are currently unclear but will be established through the various investigations and inquiries which are underway. It is too soon to draw any conclusions. Those inquiries will also inform whether recommendations are going to be made for the future.

The fact that PIR insulation has been used in a cladding system for a tower block does not mean that a parallel can be drawn with Grenfell Tower. It is not simply the choice of materials, but the construction of the building and the way in which all components of the rainscreen cladding system have been used in each particular project which is important.

Other products - Questions and answers

What standards apply to other Celotex products?

All Celotex insulation products are manufactured to a harmonised European Standard and carry CE marking. Where our products have been used in accordance with our installation guidelines and the building regulations, there is no reason for concern. You can see details of our product testing and certification on our website.

The website also includes a health and safety data sheet that applies for all products.

Does the decision on RS5000 affect any of your other products?

No. It is a voluntary decision that applies only to Celotex RS5000.

I have a question about Celotex generally or I am not sure which Celotex product I have used

If you know which Celotex product you have used, please contact us at technical@celotex.co.uk and we can help with further questions.
If you do not know which Celotex product you have used, please contact us at technical@celotex.co.uk and let us know how you think that our product has been used in your home and we shall do our best to answer your question.