Grenfell inquiry hears how Celotex misled industry over fire rating

The inquiry into the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower has heard from a former employee that foam insulation manufacturer Celotex misled the industry over the fire tests on its insulation board used in the tower block.

The inquiry into the fire in June 2017, which killed 72 people, heard this week from former Celotex assistant product manager Jonathan Roper.

Roper, who was in his first job at the time, told the enquiry that the company added a non-combustible magnesium oxide board to the RS5000 insulation test panel system to prevent it from a fire test, having already failed one three months previously.

roper celotex inquiry

The firm claimed in its marketing material that the combustible rigid foam boards were safe for use on high-rise buildings, having removed any mention of the added magnesium oxide board.

Roper told the inquiry that the actions were taken with the full knowledge of the board and that he believes there are “issues around the class 0 fire report, I think there are issues around the thermal performance of their entire product range”. He said: “I went along with a lot of actions at Celotex that, looking back on reflection, were completely unethical, and one that I probably didn’t potentially consider the impact of at the time. I was, as we’ve said, I was 22, 23, first job. I thought this was standard practice.”

The proceedings continue.

About Fiona Russell-Horne

Group Managing Editor across the BMJ portfolio.

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