London – Kingspan threatened to take a cladding company to court if it revealed the results of a failed fire resistance test, the Grenfell Inquiry was told in early February.
John Lewis, a fire engineer at the UK’s National House Building Council, said he had heard of a test carried out in 2008 in a meeting with Sotech a cladding company.
Sotech, supplied the 2mm aluminium panels used in the system tested by the UK’s BRE, a test house. He said that Sotech’s panels had held approval when tested with Rockwool insulation, but when tested with K15 Kooltherm, they had failed within 15 minutes, with flames coming off the top of the test rig.
He added: ‘Sotech got a call from Kingspan telling them that they’d take legal action against them if they released the test report.’
Asked by counsel to the inquiry Richard Millett QC if Lewis had had ‘strong suspicions’ by 2015 that Kingspan had been concealing failed test reports, he replied: ‘Yes.’
The inquiry heard in November 2020 that in February 2015 Kingspan had instructed lawyers to send a letter to the NHBC. This warned that it would seek a legal injunction after the NHBC had told the company that it would start telling projects that had used K15 that it was not compliant. The inquiry continues.