Grenfell Inquiry questioning (09/12/20) of Kingspan executives has confirmed that full-scale testing of a wall façade featuring Rockwool Insulation and Vitracore G2 was deliberately pre-engineered to fail and generate maximum flame. This marks a second instance of a rogue test of Vitracore G2 being marketed to malign the cladding’s performance credentials, despite it satisfying multiple compliance requirements.
Kingspan management – appearing at the Grenfell Inquiry due to its combustible insulation being used on the London tower where 72 people tragically died – were questioned by the eminent British QC, Richard Millet.
Rig Created Worst-Case Scenario
Millett QC cited Kingspan emails proving that a weak ‘rig’ was designed to create a greater (fire) draw, aided by the omission of key fixing elements. The purposely poor design aimed to help flames reach the top of the test rig to enhance the visual drama of test videos, which were then supplied to ministerial staff, journalists and social media spruikers. Millett QC also established that – despite the test being designed to create a worst-case scenario against competitor products – this was concealed from UK authorities (and media) when the rogue footage and results were supplied to them.
It was asserted by Millett QC that Kingspan’s goal was to concoct a failed test to generate fake ’empirical evidence’ with which to lobby UK authorities in order to remove or delete any linear (or DtS) routes to facade compliance and that this calculated test deceit of 2018 was used to strategically discredit products deemed as ‘non-combustible’, and helped fuel multiple attacks on the reputation of the brand, the manufacturer and suppliers of Vitracore by parties who have consistently mis-briefed and misled key media titles.
Set-Up A Test Designed To Fail
Key quotes from Millet QC asserted that:
– ‘Now, we’ve seen Kingspan’s plan, which was to demonstrate by empirical evidence, so it was to appear that the deemed to satisfy system had failed a large-scale fire test.’
– ‘The intention of Kingspan, right to the very top of the organisation, was to set up a test in Dubai that was designed to fail.’
– ‘There you are in mid-2018, in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower fire, presenting evidence to the select committee which was gamed.’
Without irony, Kingspan staff engineered a large-scale test of competitor products to fail against BS8414, despite their own K15 insulation product having no applicable BS8414 pass or accreditation.
Test Was Highly Suspect
Vitracore’s UK distributor, Valcan, always insisted that Kingspan’s rogue Dubai test was suspect and only possibly achievable if the cladding was not installed according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Despite this insistence, several media outlets published the rigged test results, which temporarily tarnished the product’s standing in several markets and led to a product withdrawal request by a government agency, which was later rescinded. The owners of Vitracore G2 are considering how best to pursue these matters to seek recourse and recompense.
Vitracore – No Propagation Of Fire Or Flame
The facts are that Vitracore G2 aluminium cladding has undergone the most demanding and stringent levels of testing stipulated, and it remains among the safest and most certified, compliant cladding products available. In verified test situations (and two real-life site incidents) the G2 panels do not conduct or spread fire. Vitracore G2 has never failed a BS8414 test where non-combustible insulation was used and where the test was conducted under official test guidelines by a qualified and independent materials testing and product qualification testing company. Vitracore G2 tests demonstrate that – when installed correctly – there is no propagation of fire and temperatures are within the prescribed test limits.
Despite these shocking and unprincipled revelations coming out of the Grenfell Inquiry, our company will always take the safety of products, the wider built environment and the safety of the public with the utmost seriousness and professionalism.