FIREPROOF cladding planned for Grenfell Tower was downgraded so the council could save money, it has been reported.
Kensington and Chelsea tenant management organisation (KCTMO) saved £293,000 by downgrading the material used to clad the 1970s tower, according to leaked emails seen by The Times.
Price outlines and minutes of meeting seen by the newspaper also appear to show that cost-cutting was a priority for the housing association who led the £8.6 million refit on 24-storey tower.
KCTMO sent an urgent email to project management consultants, Artelia UK, which read: “We need good costs for Cllr Feilding-Mellen and the planner tomorrow at 8.45am!”
Rock Feilding-Mellen, deputy leader of the council, was overseeing the refurbishment.
The email suggested ways to bring the price down of the cladding such as using aluminium panels rather than zinc which would save £293,368.
Zinc panels would have been fireproof, whereas the aluminium panels that were eventually used contained a flammable polyethylene core.
Reductions in the cost of cladding were among savings of £693,000 required from the main contractor, Rydon, when it was selected in June 2014.
At least 80 people died in the blaze this month and police have warned that the final death toll may not be known until the end of the year.
Some victims may never be able to be identified.
Meanwhile football clubs across the country will be told to make sure their stadiums aren’t clad with flammable material.
Letters will be sent out to all 92 clubs in the Premier League and Football League — plus Wembley and Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium – by Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA), a government-appointed body.
Ken Scott, chief inspector from the SGSA, said: “We are aware of what happened at Grenfell Tower. We are following developments. We are aware that lots of football grounds have used cladding.
“We will be writing to each and to local authorities to make them aware of the situation.”
It comes after a meeting of councillors linked to the tragedy was scrapped last night after journalists arrived.
Kensington Council boss Nicholas Paget-Brown claimed their presence would prejudice the public inquiry.
There were chaotic scenes as Grenfell residents demanded entry before the meeting was axed.