Documents seen by the BBC suggest savings were behind the switch to alumnium from zinc

Leaked documents appear to show that cheaper cladding was used on Grenfell Tower than more expensive alternatives.

Paperwork seen by the BBC suggested contractors working for Kensington and Chelsea council three years ago were asked to replace zinc cladding with a more economical aluminium version.

One document – described by the BBC as a list of requested savings sent to contractors in July 2014 – details potential savings that reduced the cost of the contract by £700,000 to £8.5m.

It includes £293,368 that would be saved by fitting “aluminium cladding in lieu of zinc cladding”.

The BBC said that as well as altering the colour the switch was designed to save money. The broadcaster added that there was no suggestion a deliberate decision had been made to cut fire safety.

Meanwhile The Times reported an “urgent nudge email” about cladding prices was sent from Kensington and Chelsea tenant management organisation to project management consultants Artelia, in which it said: “We need good costs for Cllr Feilding-Mellen and the planner tomorrow at 8.45am!”

Rock Feilding-Mellen, deputy leader of the council and chairman of its housing committee, was overseeing the refurbishment of the 1970s 24-storey block.

Yesterday, Kensington & Chelsea’s first council meeting to be held since the Grenfell fire barred residents from attending, admitted journalists only after media organisations had gained a High Court order.