Grenfell: Kingspan plan addresses ‘serious issues’

Kingspan has used its financial results for 2020 to unveil a series of actions it is taking in response to “serious issues” that have arisen from the Grenfell Tower Inquiry process.

Kingspan said the issues related to “unacceptable employee conduct” at its UK insulation boards business and “historical process shortcomings” by the business.

Apologising “unreservedly” for those shortcomings, Kingspan said it was taking a series of actions to address these “legacy issues”.

A quantity of Kingspan’s K15 insulation was used in the Grenfell Tower refurbishment. The firm said K15 made up about 5% of the insulation used on the project.

It said it had no role in the cladding system and that the insulation was used without its knowledge in a system that was “not complaint with building regulations and was unsafe”.

Kingspan also highlighted the Phase 1 report by the Grenfell Tower Inquiry which said the “principal reason” for rapid flame spread on the tower was the polyethylene-cored ACM cladding material.

The actions Kingspan said it either has taken or is taking include:

  • A compliance and governance review of Kingspan UK Insulation Boards led by law firm Eversheds Sutherland has ascertained how the issues occurred and recommened further actions
  • Kingspan has changed its UK Insulation Boards business to include new fire testing and accreditation protocols, including the publication of all BS 8414 test reports, whether they passed or failed. It is also developing a new ‘marketing integrity manual’.
  • Kingspan has appointed a group head of compliance and certification reporting to the CEO. Every business division across the group now has a product compliance officer, in addition to other divisional and UK senior management changes.
  • The company has introduced a new code of conduct based on the principles of integrity, honesty and compliance.
  • Kingspan has started implementing a group-wide product information management (PIM) infrastructure to provide up-to-date product information, including that which is related to compliance.
  • Kingspan has retested the three BS 8414 tests it withdrew and validated the original claims using current K15. It has also reviewed the remainder of its Kooltherm range and said it had “not identified issues of either safety or materiality”.
  • When it comes to legacy projects, Kingspan said it now holds 15 successful BS 8414 tests using current K15 to “support its safe use in compliant systems”. It said that when K15 was recommended in a system by Kingspan for use in a particular building and the existing BS 8414 tests do not support that use, it is committed to evaluate what action is required and “provide remediation as appropriate”.
  • The company has invested in a new fire test centre in north Wales, available to the wider industry for research purposes.

Gene Murtagh, chief executive of Kingspan said: “The unacceptable conduct and historical process shortcomings, involving a small number of employees in our UK insulation boards business, do not reflect the high standards of integrity and safety that are core Kingspan values, deeply held by our people.

“We have already implemented several important changes that demonstrate our commitment to product compliance and good governance. Our aims are clear: to reassure that safety takes precedence over all other considerations and to ensure this can never happen again.”

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  1. All well and good but, what about the costs of removal and replacement.

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