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.