Grenfell Tower: the deadly consequences of under-funding of council housing

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Kensington & Chelsea Council documents confirm reports in the media that Leadbitter was “the proposed contractor” for the work on Grenfell Tower. It gave a price of £11.278 million1. However this was £1.6 million above the council’s proposed budget. So they put it out to tender again. A council update on the Grenfell Tower work read:

The refurbishment of Grenfell Tower is a large and complex project and time and careful planning has been required to ensure that the proposals and design of the scheme meet the requirements of residents, RBKC and Planners. Particular focus has been required to ensure that the project representing value for money and can be successfully delivered to the satisfaction of residents.”

Value for money”, of course, in the context of cash strapped councils often means short-cuts, cheap and shoddy work. In this case the question is posed, did this “value for money” decision lead to the deaths of Grenfell Tower residents? The contract went to Rydon for £8.77 million, 22% less than Leadbitter’s tender. (Read on below or download a PDF here underfundingandgrenfell) More

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Grenfell Tower fire

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Words cannot express the sheer horror of the disaster which befell the Grenfell Tower and its inhabitants. People needlessly burned to death. The fire poses a host of questions about how it could happen. Fire experts have already raised issues in relation to the type of cladding that was used and whether that helped the fire to spread. Clearly instead of containing the fire something acted as an accelerant. The fire spread very quickly throughout the whole building. Fire-fighters with decades of experience on the job said that they have never seen anything like it.

There are some other questions which are not so obvious which also need addressing. Firstly, there should be complete transparency in relation to the tendering process for the refurbishment work on the block. Was the cheapest tender the one that was chosen. Did this mean that cheaper materials were used? More

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