A former employee of the makers of the combustible insulation used at Grenfell Tower described the « totally unethical » business that was allegedly carried out in the company to compete with the competitors.
Jonathan Roper, a former assistant product manager at Celotex, told an investigation into the 2017 fire that the company was « dishonest » through « over-engineering » fire safety testing to achieve success on its Rs5000 insulation product.
After a first test failed in January 2014, a second system passed four months later, which the company used to wrongly market its combustible rigid foam panels as safe for use in tall buildings, according to a public inquiry.
On Monday, the investigation committee was informed that Celotex added a 6mm-thick fire-resistant magnesium oxide board to the 12mm fiber cement board cladding test rig for the second test.
An investigation heard that 8mm fiber cement panels were added magnesium peroxide to « mask » its presence, making the entire system nearly flush – but for a difference of 2mm.
Mr. Roeper agreed with chief investigative attorney Richard Millett QC that the decision to use « a thinner layer was to make it less visible, there was something else behind it », which would help « avoid any possibility of anyone asking questions. ».
When asked if it shocked him at the time that he was « dishonest, » Mr. Roeper replied: « Yes, it happened. ».
He added: « I had followed a lot of procedures at Celotex which, looking back in mind, were totally unethical, and I probably didn’t even think about the impact of that at the time..
“I was 22 or 23 years old, my first job, I thought this was normal practice despite my discomfort.
Mr. Roeper claimed that his superiors had ordered the removal of any mention of magnesium oxide in the marketing literature, which he agreed was « misleading and intended to mislead. ».
Mr. Millett asked, « Did you realize at the time that if this was how the test was to be prescribed to the market, that would be market fraud? »
Mr. Roeper said, « Yes I did. It felt incredibly uncomfortable. I felt incredibly uncomfortable in what I was asked to do.
Mr. Roper said there was no one at the company who could speak to him about his concerns.
He told the investigation committee that all of his work had been overseen by product manager Paul Evans, and that the drive to get the Rs5000 to market was to compete with rival Kingspan and isolate K15.
An investigation previously heard that Celotex considered Grenfell to be a « pioneer » for its product and allegedly exploited the « smoke of confusion » that surrounded the building systems at the time.
Celotex, part of the French multinational group Saint-Gobain, has maintained that it has promoted the use of Rs5000 in buildings over 18 meters in height only its « rain cladding system with specified components », which was used when it passed the safety test of Fires.
In its opening statement for Unit 2 of the investigation, the company said: “In the course of the investigations that Celotex has conducted following the Grenfell Tower Fire, some issues have arisen regarding the testing, certification and marketing of Celotex products. . . . These included unacceptable behavior on the part of a number of employees.
The second unit, the latest phase in the investigation, is studying the production, testing and sale of materials used in the renovation of the 23-storey tower building in North Kensington, West London, before a fire broke out on June 14, 2017 that killed 72 people.
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Grenfell Tower Inquiry, Celotex, Building Insulation, Management
World News – GB – The Grenfell Inquiry was notified of the isolation company’s « unethical » actions
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– rigged a fire test for Grenfell foam cladding panels, admits a former employee
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– Grenfell query: Insulation Product Manager describes & # 39; Dishonest & # 39; Acting in the company
– told the Celotex manager To & # 39; Lie to gain commercial gain from CSEANDCHAR # 39; About safety testing of insulation sold for use at Grenfell
– Grenfell Inquiry: Ex-employee describes & # 39; Dishonest & # 39; Acting for company that manufactured flammable insulation in tower
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