Firm ends relationship with insulation firms following evidence at inquiry
Testing body the Building Research Establishment (BRE) has confirmed it is no longer accepting new work from insulation firms Kingspan and Celotex.
The decision by BRE to end its relationship with the two firms is a direct result of the evidence heard at the Grenfell Inquiry, Building’s sister title Housing Today understands. It means BRE will no longer test or audit the firms’ products.
Both firms were accused of acting in a misleading way regarding their products installed on Grenfell Tower.
A spokesperson for BRE said: “BRE no longer accepts any new work on behalf of Kingspan or Celotex following evidence heard during the course of this Inquiry.”
BRE first informed Kingspan of its decision last August but the news only emerged last Friday after Kingspan sent a letter informing clients.
A spokesperson for Kingspan said BRE has discontinued the relationship with Kingspan “irrespective of product type, despite our products being in full compliance with relevant Building Regulations and with the test performance requirements of the relevant LPCB Loss Prevention Standards.”
He said: “There is no product performance or compliance basis for BRE’s decision.
“Kingspan Insulated Panels is committed to manufacturing and supplying products that adhere to leading global quality and testing standards, supported by extensive testing and certification of the highest integrity.
“Independently of BRE, whose certification is regionally focused on the UK and Ireland, Kingspan is certified by the globally recognised insurer testing regime FM Approvals, which carries out annual factory surveillance audits to verify our products comply with its global approval standards.”
Celotex, owned by Saint-Gobain, has been approached for comment.
Kingspan’s Kooltherm K15 product hit the headlines after it emerged a small amount of it had been installed on Grenfell Tower. Kingspan later denied the firm had acted in a dangerous way when it emerged it had continued to sell Kooltherm K15 insulation for 14 years using a safety test certificate for a previous version of the product.
The inquiry also heard that RS500 insulation panels manufactured by Celotex and used as part of Grenfell Tower’s refurbishment were being marketed as suitable for use on high rise buildings despite failing a fire test needed to prove they were safe.
The RS5000 panels, manufactured by insulation firm Celotex, didn’t pass a key fire test six months before their launch in August 2014, inquiry barrister Richard Millett QC told the inquiry.
In November 2020, Celotex major projects and specification manager Jonathan Roome admitted to the inquiry that marketing material given to Celotex’s clients which said the panels were “suitable for buildings above 18m in height” were misleading. The hearing was told a caveat stating that the insulation only passed a fire safety test within a specific cladding system was omitted.
The Grenfell Tower Inquiry is currently in the process of writing its final report.