Housing Minister meets with Dublin's Chief Fire Officer after Grenfell Tower tragedy

Housing Minister meets with Dublin's Chief Fire Officer after Grenfell Tower tragedy

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy has met with Dublin's Chief Fire Officer to discuss fire-safety in light of the Grenfell Tower tragedy in London.

The Minister has offered sympathy to the people of London who are affected by the tragedy, and says it's a reminder of the need for vigilance at all times in relation to fire safety.

While noting that local authorities across the State already monitor fire safety measures, Minister Murphy says he will continue to continue to engage with all Chief Fire Officers across the country in the coming days and weeks.

Meanwhile, authorities in the UK investigating the Grenfell Tower inferno should consider the design of the building's entire exterior refurbishment rather than individual components, a company said.

CEP Architectural Facades, which fabricated the rainscreen panels and windows for Grenfell's cladding sub-contractor Harley Facades Ltd, said it was critical to consider the whole system.

The Guardian reported that the material used in the cladding that covered Grenfell was Reynobond PE cladding - the cheaper, more flammable version of two available options.

The more expensive Reynobond FR contains a fire-retardant mineral core and is said to guarantee higher resistance to fire compared with the Reynobond PE, which has a polyethylene, or plastic, core.

In a statement on Friday night, CEP Architectural Facades, which does not manufacture Reynobond, said it believed it would be wrong to point to individual materials or components.

The firm's managing director, John Cowley, said: "It is critical to consider the whole system, including insulation materials, fire barriers, fixings and railings and you also need to look at the overall design and quality of installation.

Housing Minister meets with Dublin's Chief Fire Officer after Grenfell Tower tragedy

"We prefer systems which have been designed and tested in controlled conditions so that we know they are robust and fit for purpose.

"In the US, you can't build a structure taller than 40 feet without testing the whole system in a fully-rigged environment.

"Whilst we do design and supply whole systems, in this case we were one part of the jigsaw, with components coming from a variety of suppliers, working with materials and specifications determined by the contractors."

Extending his sympathies, Mr Cowley said his firm would participate fully in any investigation and co-operate with the authorities to ensure "something like this could never happen again".

East Sussex-based Harley Facades Ltd fitted the panels at Grenfell as part of the £8.6 million partial refurbishment which was completed under lead contractor Rydon last summer.

Rydon said the project met all building regulations, fire regulations and health and safety standards. And it said handover took place when the completion notice was issued by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea building control.

In a statement issued earlier this week, Harley Facades Ltd said it was not aware at this time of any link between the Grenfell Tower fire and the exterior cladding fitted to it.

The firm said the cladding panels, which are not manufactured by Harley Facades, are a commonly used product in the refurbishment industry.

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