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Grenfell Tower fire: Cladding that 'may have helped blaze spread' was chosen to improve appearance of flats from luxury Kensington homes

 

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Image received by local resident Natalie Oxford early on June 14, 2017 shows flames and smoke coming from a 27-storey block of flats after a fire broke out in west London. AFP/Getty Images

Image received by local resident Natalie Oxford early on June 14, 2017 shows flames and smoke coming from a 27-storey block of flats after a fire broke out in west London. AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Image received by local resident Natalie Oxford early on June 14, 2017 shows flames and smoke coming from a 27-storey block of flats after a fire broke out in west London.AFP/Getty Images

Image received by local resident Natalie Oxford early on June 14, 2017 shows flames and smoke coming from a 27-storey block of flats after a fire broke out in west London.AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

A woman wears a mask as she waits near a Grenfell Tower, a residential block of flats in west London on June 14, 2017, as firefighters continue to control a fire that started in the flats in the early hours of the morning. AFP/Getty Images

A woman wears a mask as she waits near a Grenfell Tower, a residential block of flats in west London on June 14, 2017, as firefighters continue to control a fire that started in the flats in the early hours of the morning. AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Smoke rises from the building after a huge fire engulfed the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, West London in the early hours of this morning on June 14, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Smoke rises from the building after a huge fire engulfed the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, West London in the early hours of this morning on June 14, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

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Image received by local resident Natalie Oxford early on June 14, 2017 shows flames and smoke coming from a 27-storey block of flats after a fire broke out in west London. AFP/Getty Images

Cladding that might have led to the horrifying blaze at Grenfell Tower was added partly to improve its appearance.

During a refurbishment aimed at regeneration last year, cladding was added to the sides of the building to update its look. The cladding then seems to have helped the fire spread around the building, allowing it to destroy almost the entirety of the structure and kill people inside.

And that cladding – a low-cost way of improving the front of the building – was chosen in part so that the tower would look better when seen from the conservation areas and luxury flats that surround north Kensington, according to planning documents.

“Due to its height the tower is visible from the adjacent Avondale Conservation Area to the south and the Ladbroke Conservation Area to the east,” a planning document for the regeneration work reads. “The changes to the existing tower will improve its appearance especially when viewed from the surrounding area.”

The document, published in 2014 and providing a full report on the works, makes repeated reference to the “appearance of the area”. That is the justification for the material used on the outside of the building, which has since been claimed to have contributed to the horror.

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Grenfell Tower: external cladding graphic (PA graphic))

Grenfell Tower: external cladding graphic (PA graphic))

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Grenfell Tower: external cladding graphic (PA graphic))

The materials used were chosen “to accord with the development plan by ensuring that the character and appearance of the area are preserved and living conditions of those living near the development suitably protected,” according to the same report.

A number of conditions were attached to the 2014 decision to approve the plan – many of which related specifically to the material used in the cladding, so that the council could ensure the "living conditions of those living near the development" were "suitably protected".

The council noted that the cladding would also improve insulation, helping keep sound and cold out from the building, and improve ventilation. It said that the "primary driver behind the refurbishment" was to address the insulation and air tightness.

Rydon, the company behind the refurbishment work, said the cladding and other changes had been made to help with "improving thermal insulation and modernising the exterior of the building".

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The location of Grenfell Tower in London (PA graphic)

The location of Grenfell Tower in London (PA graphic)

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The location of Grenfell Tower in London (PA graphic)

A statement from Rydon after the work was finished noted that "rain screen cladding, replacement windows and curtain wall façades have been fitted giving the building a fresher, modern look".

That statement included a quote from Nick Paget-Brown, the leader of the council, who remarked on how happy he was to see "first-hand how the cladding has lifted the external appearance of the tower".

That public statement after the completion made no reference to insulation, only discussing the change in the external appearance of the building.

The refurbishment work that added the cladding cost £8.6m and finished in May last year. Both before and since that time, residents have repeatedly complained about the safety of the block, but were assured that there was no problem.

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Photo graphic of Grenfell Tower (PA graphic)

Photo graphic of Grenfell Tower (PA graphic)

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Photo graphic of Grenfell Tower (PA graphic)

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Smoke billows from a fire that has engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. Pic: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Smoke billows from a fire that has engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. Pic: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

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Smoke billows from a fire that has engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. Pic: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Councillor Judith Blakeman said questions would now be asked in the wake of those assurances.

“If the cladding was partly responsible for the fire we need to know what the specification for the cladding was and why it suddenly just went up (in flames) in about five minutes, because it should have been fire resistant, surely,” she said.

Ms Blakeman lives across the road and said she heard about the fire at 5am on the radio.

“I just rushed outside,” she said. “Neighbours had been watching it all night, they said the cladding went up like a nightdress by a fire – it just went whoosh.

“This is obviously part of the big refurbishment that finished about a year ago.”

The tower was built in 1974. But the refurbishment work brought a number of changes – new areas were added to the building, as well as the cladding.

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Members of the emergency services work at the scene of a huge blaze which engulfed Grenfell Tower, a residential tower block on June 14, 2017 in west London.
The massive fire ripped through the 27-storey apartment block in west London in the early hours of Wednesday, trapping residents inside as 200 firefighters battled the blaze. Police and fire services attempted to evacuate the concrete block and said "a number of people are being treated for a range of injuries", including at least two for smoke inhalation.   / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVASDANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

Members of the emergency services work at the scene of a huge blaze which engulfed Grenfell Tower, a residential tower block on June 14, 2017 in west London. The massive fire ripped through the 27-storey apartment block in west London in the early hours of Wednesday, trapping residents inside as 200 firefighters battled the blaze. Police and fire services attempted to evacuate the concrete block and said "a number of people are being treated for a range of injuries", including at least two for smoke inhalation. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVASDANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

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Members of the emergency services work at the scene of a huge blaze which engulfed Grenfell Tower, a residential tower block on June 14, 2017 in west London. The massive fire ripped through the 27-storey apartment block in west London in the early hours of Wednesday, trapping residents inside as 200 firefighters battled the blaze. Police and fire services attempted to evacuate the concrete block and said "a number of people are being treated for a range of injuries", including at least two for smoke inhalation. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVASDANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

Experts have repeatedly warned that the addition of cladding, which is regularly used to refresh old or unsightly buildings, can help spread fire. It can work like a chimney, they have warned, bringing up air that allows it to spread across a building quickly.

Chartered surveyor and fire expert Arnold Tarling, from Hindwoods, said the process can create a 25-30mm cavity between the cladding and the insulation.

“It produces a wind tunnel and also traps any burning material between the rain cladding and the building," he said.

“So had it been insulated per se, the insulation could fall off and fall away from the building, but this is all contained inside.”

He said not all insulation used in the process is the more expensive non-flammable type.

“So basically you have got a cavity with a fire spreading behind it," he added.

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Fire service personnel survey the damage at Grenfell Tower (Rick Findler/PA)

Fire service personnel survey the damage at Grenfell Tower (Rick Findler/PA)

Inside of the Grenfell Tower, as searches for people missing in the inferno are continuing frantically. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.

Inside of the Grenfell Tower, as searches for people missing in the inferno are continuing frantically. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 15:  Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to members of the fire service as she visits Grenfell Tower, on June 15, 2017 in London, England. At least twelve people have been confirmed dead and dozens missing, after the 24 storey residential Grenfell Tower block in Latimer Road was engulfed in flames in the early hours of June 14. The number of fatalities are expected to rise.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 15: Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to members of the fire service as she visits Grenfell Tower, on June 15, 2017 in London, England. At least twelve people have been confirmed dead and dozens missing, after the 24 storey residential Grenfell Tower block in Latimer Road was engulfed in flames in the early hours of June 14. The number of fatalities are expected to rise. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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Inside of the Grenfell Tower, as searches for people missing in the inferno are continuing frantically. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.

Inside of the Grenfell Tower, as searches for people missing in the inferno are continuing frantically. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.

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Prime Minister Theresa May visits the scene near Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building yesterday morning. Rick Findler/PA Wire

Prime Minister Theresa May visits the scene near Grenfell Tower in west London after a fire engulfed the 24-storey building yesterday morning. Rick Findler/PA Wire

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Inside of the Grenfell Tower, as searches for people missing in the inferno are continuing frantically. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.

Inside of the Grenfell Tower, as searches for people missing in the inferno are continuing frantically. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo.

PA

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 15:  Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to Dany Cotton, Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, with members of the fire service as she visits Grenfell Tower, on June 15, 2017 in London, England. At least twelve people have been confirmed dead and dozens missing, after the 24 storey residential Grenfell Tower block in Latimer Road was engulfed in flames in the early hours of June 14. The number of fatalities are expected to rise.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 15: Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to Dany Cotton, Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, with members of the fire service as she visits Grenfell Tower, on June 15, 2017 in London, England. At least twelve people have been confirmed dead and dozens missing, after the 24 storey residential Grenfell Tower block in Latimer Road was engulfed in flames in the early hours of June 14. The number of fatalities are expected to rise. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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British Prime Minister Theresa May (C) visits the remains of Grenfell Tower, a residential tower block in west London which was gutted by fire on June 14, 2017.
Firefighters searched for bodies today in a London tower block gutted by a blaze that has already left 12 dead, as questions grew over whether a recent refurbishment contributed to the fire. / AFP PHOTO / Tolga AKMENTOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images

British Prime Minister Theresa May (C) visits the remains of Grenfell Tower, a residential tower block in west London which was gutted by fire on June 14, 2017. Firefighters searched for bodies today in a London tower block gutted by a blaze that has already left 12 dead, as questions grew over whether a recent refurbishment contributed to the fire. / AFP PHOTO / Tolga AKMENTOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

British Prime Minister Theresa May (C) meets police officers as she visits the remains of Grenfell Tower, a residential tower block in west London which was gutted by fire on June 14, 2017.
Firefighters searched for bodies today in a London tower block gutted by a blaze that has already left 12 dead, as questions grew over whether a recent refurbishment contributed to the fire. / AFP PHOTO / Tolga AKMENTOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images

British Prime Minister Theresa May (C) meets police officers as she visits the remains of Grenfell Tower, a residential tower block in west London which was gutted by fire on June 14, 2017. Firefighters searched for bodies today in a London tower block gutted by a blaze that has already left 12 dead, as questions grew over whether a recent refurbishment contributed to the fire. / AFP PHOTO / Tolga AKMENTOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 15:  Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to Dany Cotton, Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, with members of the fire service as she visits Grenfell Tower, on June 15, 2017 in London, England. At least twelve people have been confirmed dead and dozens missing, after the 24 storey residential Grenfell Tower block in Latimer Road was engulfed in flames in the early hours of June 14. The number of fatalities are expected to rise.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 15: Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to Dany Cotton, Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade, with members of the fire service as she visits Grenfell Tower, on June 15, 2017 in London, England. At least twelve people have been confirmed dead and dozens missing, after the 24 storey residential Grenfell Tower block in Latimer Road was engulfed in flames in the early hours of June 14. The number of fatalities are expected to rise. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

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British Prime Minister Theresa May (C) speaks with Dany Cotton (L), London Fire Brigade commissioner as she visits the remains of Grenfell Tower, a residential tower block in west London which was gutted by fire on June 14, 2017.
Firefighters searched for bodies today in a London tower block gutted by a blaze that has already left 12 dead, as questions grew over whether a recent refurbishment contributed to the fire. / AFP PHOTO / Tolga AKMENTOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images

British Prime Minister Theresa May (C) speaks with Dany Cotton (L), London Fire Brigade commissioner as she visits the remains of Grenfell Tower, a residential tower block in west London which was gutted by fire on June 14, 2017. Firefighters searched for bodies today in a London tower block gutted by a blaze that has already left 12 dead, as questions grew over whether a recent refurbishment contributed to the fire. / AFP PHOTO / Tolga AKMENTOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

British Prime Minister Theresa May (C) speaks with police as she visits the remains of Grenfell Tower, a residential tower block in west London which was gutted by fire on June 14, 2017.
Firefighters searched for bodies today in a London tower block gutted by a blaze that has already left 12 dead, as questions grew over whether a recent refurbishment contributed to the fire. / AFP PHOTO / Tolga AKMENTOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images

British Prime Minister Theresa May (C) speaks with police as she visits the remains of Grenfell Tower, a residential tower block in west London which was gutted by fire on June 14, 2017. Firefighters searched for bodies today in a London tower block gutted by a blaze that has already left 12 dead, as questions grew over whether a recent refurbishment contributed to the fire. / AFP PHOTO / Tolga AKMENTOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Smoke and flames billow from the 24-storey Grenfell Tower

Smoke and flames billow from the 24-storey Grenfell Tower

PA

Firefighters and their exhausted colleages at the scene

Firefighters and their exhausted colleages at the scene

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Firefighters and their exhausted colleages at the scene

Firefighters and their exhausted colleages at the scene

AFP/Getty Images

Grief-stricken people at the scene

Grief-stricken people at the scene

AFP/Getty Images

Grief-stricken people at the scene

Grief-stricken people at the scene

AFP/Getty Images

Residents evacuated from the blaze

Residents evacuated from the blaze

AFP/Getty Images

Undertakers remove a body

Undertakers remove a body

PA

A man at a window in the burning tower

A man at a window in the burning tower

AP

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14:  Fire fighters drench the burning 24 storey residential Grenfell Tower block in Latimer Road, West London on June 14, 2017 in London, England.  The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the fire a major incident as more than 200 firefighters are still tackling the blaze while at least 50 people are receiving hospital treatment.  (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: Fire fighters drench the burning 24 storey residential Grenfell Tower block in Latimer Road, West London on June 14, 2017 in London, England. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the fire a major incident as more than 200 firefighters are still tackling the blaze while at least 50 people are receiving hospital treatment. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14:  Smoke continues to rise from the burning 24 storey residential Grenfell Tower block in Latimer Road, West London on June 14, 2017 in London, England.  The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the fire a major incident as more than 200 firefighters are still tackling the blaze while at least 50 people are receiving hospital treatment.  (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: Smoke continues to rise from the burning 24 storey residential Grenfell Tower block in Latimer Road, West London on June 14, 2017 in London, England. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the fire a major incident as more than 200 firefighters are still tackling the blaze while at least 50 people are receiving hospital treatment. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

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Smoke rises from the building after a huge fire engulfed the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

Smoke rises from the building after a huge fire engulfed the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

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Flames and smoke engulf Grenfell Tower, a residential block of flats in west London on June 14, 2017, as firefighters continue to control a fire that started in the early hours of the morning. 
Six people were confirmed dead in a massive fire that engulfed a London tower block before dawn on Wednesday and the number is expected to rise, police said.   / AFP PHOTO / Adrian DENNISADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

Flames and smoke engulf Grenfell Tower, a residential block of flats in west London on June 14, 2017, as firefighters continue to control a fire that started in the early hours of the morning. Six people were confirmed dead in a massive fire that engulfed a London tower block before dawn on Wednesday and the number is expected to rise, police said. / AFP PHOTO / Adrian DENNISADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

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Smoke billows from a fire that has engulfed the 27-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. Pic: Rick Findler/PA Wire

Smoke billows from a fire that has engulfed the 27-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. Pic: Rick Findler/PA Wire

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Emergency services at the scene after a fire engulfed the 27-storey Grenfell Tower in west London.  Steve Paston/PA Wire

Emergency services at the scene after a fire engulfed the 27-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. Steve Paston/PA Wire

PA

Members of the emergency services carry oxygen tanks as a huge blaze engulfs Grenfell Tower, a residential tower block on June 14, 2017 in west London.
The massive fire ripped through the 27-storey apartment block in west London in the early hours of Wednesday, trapping residents inside as 200 firefighters battled the blaze. Police and fire services attempted to evacuate the concrete block and said "a number of people are being treated for a range of injuries", including at least two for smoke inhalation.   / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVASDANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

Members of the emergency services carry oxygen tanks as a huge blaze engulfs Grenfell Tower, a residential tower block on June 14, 2017 in west London. The massive fire ripped through the 27-storey apartment block in west London in the early hours of Wednesday, trapping residents inside as 200 firefighters battled the blaze. Police and fire services attempted to evacuate the concrete block and said "a number of people are being treated for a range of injuries", including at least two for smoke inhalation. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVASDANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Members of the emergency services work at the scene of a huge blaze which engulfed Grenfell Tower, a residential tower block on June 14, 2017 in west London.
The massive fire ripped through the 27-storey apartment block in west London in the early hours of Wednesday, trapping residents inside as 200 firefighters battled the blaze. Police and fire services attempted to evacuate the concrete block and said "a number of people are being treated for a range of injuries", including at least two for smoke inhalation.   / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVASDANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

Members of the emergency services work at the scene of a huge blaze which engulfed Grenfell Tower, a residential tower block on June 14, 2017 in west London. The massive fire ripped through the 27-storey apartment block in west London in the early hours of Wednesday, trapping residents inside as 200 firefighters battled the blaze. Police and fire services attempted to evacuate the concrete block and said "a number of people are being treated for a range of injuries", including at least two for smoke inhalation. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVASDANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Members of the emergency services work at the scene of a huge blaze which engulfed Grenfell Tower, a residential tower block on June 14, 2017 in west London.
The massive fire ripped through the 27-storey apartment block in west London in the early hours of Wednesday, trapping residents inside as 200 firefighters battled the blaze. Police and fire services attempted to evacuate the concrete block and said "a number of people are being treated for a range of injuries", including at least two for smoke inhalation.   / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVASDANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

Members of the emergency services work at the scene of a huge blaze which engulfed Grenfell Tower, a residential tower block on June 14, 2017 in west London. The massive fire ripped through the 27-storey apartment block in west London in the early hours of Wednesday, trapping residents inside as 200 firefighters battled the blaze. Police and fire services attempted to evacuate the concrete block and said "a number of people are being treated for a range of injuries", including at least two for smoke inhalation. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel LEAL-OLIVASDANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Smoke billows from a fire that has engulfed the 27-storey Grenfell Tower in west London.   Steve Paston/PA Wire

Smoke billows from a fire that has engulfed the 27-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. Steve Paston/PA Wire

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14:  People watch as smoke rises from the building after a huge fire engulfed the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, West London in the early hours of this morning on June 14, 2017 in London, England.  The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the fire a major incident as more than 200 firefighters are still tackling the blaze while at least 30 people are receiving hospital treatment.  (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: People watch as smoke rises from the building after a huge fire engulfed the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, West London in the early hours of this morning on June 14, 2017 in London, England. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the fire a major incident as more than 200 firefighters are still tackling the blaze while at least 30 people are receiving hospital treatment. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14:  A heicopter circles as smoke rises from the building after a huge fire engulfed the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, West London in the early hours of this morning on June 14, 2017 in London, England.  The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the fire a major incident as more than 200 firefighters are still tackling the blaze while at least 30 people are receiving hospital treatment.  (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: A heicopter circles as smoke rises from the building after a huge fire engulfed the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, West London in the early hours of this morning on June 14, 2017 in London, England. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the fire a major incident as more than 200 firefighters are still tackling the blaze while at least 30 people are receiving hospital treatment. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

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Smoke billows from a fire that has engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London.   Steve Paston/PA Wire

Smoke billows from a fire that has engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. Steve Paston/PA Wire

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Smoke billows from a fire that has engulfed the 27-storey Grenfell Tower in west London.  Rick Findler/PA Wire

Smoke billows from a fire that has engulfed the 27-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. Rick Findler/PA Wire

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14:  People watch as smoke rises from the building after a huge fire engulfed the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, West London in the early hours of this morning on June 14, 2017 in London, England.  The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the fire a major incident as more than 200 firefighters are still tackling the blaze while at least 30 people are receiving hospital treatment.  (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: People watch as smoke rises from the building after a huge fire engulfed the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, West London in the early hours of this morning on June 14, 2017 in London, England. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the fire a major incident as more than 200 firefighters are still tackling the blaze while at least 30 people are receiving hospital treatment. (Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images)

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Smoke billows from a fire that has engulfed the 27-storey Grenfell Tower in west London.  Rick Findler/PA Wire

Smoke billows from a fire that has engulfed the 27-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. Rick Findler/PA Wire

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Smoke and flames rise from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Smoke and flames rise from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

AP

Smoke rises from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Smoke rises from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

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A man photographs a fire that has engulfed the 27-storey Grenfell Tower in west London.   Rick Findler/PA Wire

A man photographs a fire that has engulfed the 27-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. Rick Findler/PA Wire

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Smoke pours from a fire that has engulfed the 27-storey Grenfell Tower in west London.  Wednesday June 14, 2017. More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze and London Ambulance Service said 30 people had been taken to five hospitals. Steve Paston/PA Wire

Smoke pours from a fire that has engulfed the 27-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. Wednesday June 14, 2017. More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze and London Ambulance Service said 30 people had been taken to five hospitals. Steve Paston/PA Wire

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This handout image received by local resident Natalie Oxford early on June 14, 2017 shows flames and smoke coming from a 27-storey block of flats after a fire broke out in west London.
The fire brigade said 40 fire engines and 200 firefighters had been called to the blaze in Grenfell Tower, which has 120 flats. / AFP PHOTO / Natalie Oxford / Natalie OXFORD /

This handout image received by local resident Natalie Oxford early on June 14, 2017 shows flames and smoke coming from a 27-storey block of flats after a fire broke out in west London. The fire brigade said 40 fire engines and 200 firefighters had been called to the blaze in Grenfell Tower, which has 120 flats. / AFP PHOTO / Natalie Oxford / Natalie OXFORD /

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14:  A man watches as smoke continues to rise from the building after a huge fire engulfed the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, West London in the early hours of this morning on June 14, 2017 in London, England.  The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the fire a major incident as more than 200 firefighters are still tackling the blaze while at least 30 people are receiving hospital treatment.  (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: A man watches as smoke continues to rise from the building after a huge fire engulfed the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, West London in the early hours of this morning on June 14, 2017 in London, England. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the fire a major incident as more than 200 firefighters are still tackling the blaze while at least 30 people are receiving hospital treatment. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14:  Fire fighters tackle the building after a huge fire engulfed the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, West London in the early hours of this morning on June 14, 2017 in London, England.  The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the fire a major incident as more than 200 firefighters are still tackling the blaze, while at least 30 people are receiving hospital treatment.  (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: Fire fighters tackle the building after a huge fire engulfed the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, West London in the early hours of this morning on June 14, 2017 in London, England. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the fire a major incident as more than 200 firefighters are still tackling the blaze, while at least 30 people are receiving hospital treatment. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14:  Fire fighters tackle the building after a huge fire engulfed the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, West London in the early hours of this morning on June 14, 2017 in London, England.  The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the fire a major incident as more than 200 firefighters are still tackling the blaze, while at least 30 people are receiving hospital treatment.  (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: Fire fighters tackle the building after a huge fire engulfed the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, West London in the early hours of this morning on June 14, 2017 in London, England. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the fire a major incident as more than 200 firefighters are still tackling the blaze, while at least 30 people are receiving hospital treatment. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

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Smoke billows from a fire that has engulfed the 27-storey Grenfell Tower in west London.  PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 14, 2017. More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze and London Ambulance Service said 30 people had been taken to five hospitals. See PA story FIRE Grenfell. Photo credit should read: Rick Findler/PA Wire

Smoke billows from a fire that has engulfed the 27-storey Grenfell Tower in west London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday June 14, 2017. More than 200 firefighters were sent to tackle the blaze and London Ambulance Service said 30 people had been taken to five hospitals. See PA story FIRE Grenfell. Photo credit should read: Rick Findler/PA Wire

PA

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14:  A fire fighter tackles the building after a huge fire engulfed the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, West London in the early hours of this morning on June 14, 2017 in London, England.  The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the fire a major incident as more than 200 firefighters are still tackling the blaze, while at least 30 people are receiving hospital treatment.  (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: A fire fighter tackles the building after a huge fire engulfed the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, West London in the early hours of this morning on June 14, 2017 in London, England. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the fire a major incident as more than 200 firefighters are still tackling the blaze, while at least 30 people are receiving hospital treatment. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14:  Fire fighters take a rest near the building after a huge fire engulfed the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, West London in the early hours of this morning on June 14, 2017 in London, England.  The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the fire a major incident as more than 200 firefighters are still tackling the blaze, while at least 30 people are receiving hospital treatment.  (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: Fire fighters take a rest near the building after a huge fire engulfed the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, West London in the early hours of this morning on June 14, 2017 in London, England. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the fire a major incident as more than 200 firefighters are still tackling the blaze, while at least 30 people are receiving hospital treatment. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14:  Smoke rises from the building after a huge fire engulfed the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, West London in the early hours of this morning on June 14, 2017 in London, England.  The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the fire a major incident as more than 200 firefighters are still tackling the blaze while at least 30 people are receiving hospital treatment.  (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 14: Smoke rises from the building after a huge fire engulfed the 24 story Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road, West London in the early hours of this morning on June 14, 2017 in London, England. The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has declared the fire a major incident as more than 200 firefighters are still tackling the blaze while at least 30 people are receiving hospital treatment. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

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Smoke and flames rise from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Smoke and flames rise from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

AP

A person, bottom right, peers out of a window from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

A person, bottom right, peers out of a window from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

AP

A person peers out of a window from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

A person peers out of a window from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

AP

This handout image received by local resident Natalie Oxford early on June 14, 2017 shows flames and smoke coming from a 27-storey block of flats after a fire broke out in west London.

This handout image received by local resident Natalie Oxford early on June 14, 2017 shows flames and smoke coming from a 27-storey block of flats after a fire broke out in west London.

AFP/Getty Images

Firefighters wait to start their shift after a massive fire raged in a 27-floor high-rise apartment building in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Firefighters wait to start their shift after a massive fire raged in a 27-floor high-rise apartment building in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

AP

Smoke and flames rise from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Smoke and flames rise from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

AP

Smoke and flames rise from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Smoke and flames rise from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

AP

Smoke and flames rise from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Smoke and flames rise from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

AP

Paramedics arrive with oxygen as a huge fire engulfs the Grenfell Tower early June 14, 2017 in west London. 
The massive fire ripped through a 27-storey apartment block in west London in the early hours of Wednesday, trapping residents inside as 200 firefighters battled the blaze. Police and fire services attempted to evacuate the concrete block and said "a number of people are being treated for a range of injuries", including at least two for smoke inhalation.   / AFP PHOTO / Daniel Leal-OlivasDANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

Paramedics arrive with oxygen as a huge fire engulfs the Grenfell Tower early June 14, 2017 in west London. The massive fire ripped through a 27-storey apartment block in west London in the early hours of Wednesday, trapping residents inside as 200 firefighters battled the blaze. Police and fire services attempted to evacuate the concrete block and said "a number of people are being treated for a range of injuries", including at least two for smoke inhalation. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel Leal-OlivasDANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Smoke and flames rise from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Smoke and flames rise from a building on fire in London, Wednesday, June 14, 2017. Metropolitan Police in London say they're continuing to evacuate people from a massive apartment fire in west London. The fire has been burning for more than three hours and stretches from the second to the 27th floor of the building.(AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

AP

This handout image received by local resident Natalie Oxford early on June 14, 2017 shows flames and smoke coming from a 27-storey block of flats after a fire broke out in west London.
The fire brigade said 40 fire engines and 200 firefighters had been called to the blaze in Grenfell Tower, which has 120 flats. / AFP PHOTO / Natalie Oxford / Natalie OXFORD /

This handout image received by local resident Natalie Oxford early on June 14, 2017 shows flames and smoke coming from a 27-storey block of flats after a fire broke out in west London. The fire brigade said 40 fire engines and 200 firefighters had been called to the blaze in Grenfell Tower, which has 120 flats. / AFP PHOTO / Natalie Oxford / Natalie OXFORD /

AFP/Getty Images

Firefighters react as a huge fire engulfs the Grenfell Tower early June 14, 2017 in west London. 
The massive fire ripped through a 27-storey apartment block in west London in the early hours of Wednesday, trapping residents inside as 200 firefighters battled the blaze. Police and fire services attempted to evacuate the concrete block and said "a number of people are being treated for a range of injuries", including at least two for smoke inhalation.   / AFP PHOTO / Daniel Leal-OlivasDANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

Firefighters react as a huge fire engulfs the Grenfell Tower early June 14, 2017 in west London. The massive fire ripped through a 27-storey apartment block in west London in the early hours of Wednesday, trapping residents inside as 200 firefighters battled the blaze. Police and fire services attempted to evacuate the concrete block and said "a number of people are being treated for a range of injuries", including at least two for smoke inhalation. / AFP PHOTO / Daniel Leal-OlivasDANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty Images

AFP/Getty Images

Fire engulfing the 27-storey Grenfell Tower in west London (Natalie_Oxford/PA)

Fire engulfing the 27-storey Grenfell Tower in west London (Natalie_Oxford/PA)

Fire service personnel survey the damage at Grenfell Tower (Rick Findler/PA)

Angus Law, of the BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering at the University of Edinburgh, said: “Early media reports suggest that this event has similarities with other fires that have occurred recently around the world.”

He added: “The UK’s regulatory framework for tall residential buildings is intended to prevent the spread of fire between floors and between apartments.

“If spread of fire does occur, as has happened at Grenfell Tower, the consequences are often catastrophic.”

Construction firm Rydon, which carried out a £8.6m refurbishment of the exterior of Grenfell Tower last year, installing cladding and new windows, said its work “met all required building control, fire regulation, and health and safety standards.”

Independent News Service