Kingspan takes corrective action

Kingspan has commissioned an investigation by law firm Eversheds Sutherland into its UK Insulation Boards business and has committed to full implementation of the recommendations put forwardd reforms.

Kingspan sold Kooltherm K15 boards to the Grenfell Tower restoration project despite it not being fit for purpose.

Chief executive Gene Murtagh 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.”

However, he asserted that Kingspan had no role in the design of the cladding system used on Grenfell Tower, where its K15 product constituted approximately 5% of the insulation used.

“It was used without Kingspan’s knowledge in a system that was not compliant with the buildings regulations and was unsafe,” he said.

“In its Phase 1 Report the Inquiry has stated that the ‘principal reason’ for the rapid flame spread on the tower was the polyethylene cored (PE) ACM cladding material which was neither manufactured nor supplied by Kingspan, and would never be compliant for use in a system combined with K15. Furthermore, large scale testing undertaken by the UK government since the fire concluded that any cladding system using the PE-cored ACM installed on Grenfell Tower would have been unsafe, regardless of insulation type.”

He said that Kingspan had “already implemented several important changes that demonstrate our commitment to product compliance and good governance”.

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Changes made in Kingspan’s UK Insulation Boards business include new fire testing and accreditation protocols, publication of all BS 8414 test reports (pass and fail) and the introduction of a new marketing integrity manual is under way.

A group head of compliance & certification has been appointed and there are now product compliance officers in every business division across the group. Management of the Insulation Boards business has been changed.

Kingspan has also retested the three BS 8414 tests it withdrew and validated the original claims using current K15. It said: “Kingspan is engaged with the appropriate stakeholders on matters relevant to all K15 legacy marketing and testing issues on an ongoing basis. Kingspan has reviewed the remainder of its Kooltherm range and has not identified issues of either safety or materiality.”

It also promises action on legacy projects: “When K15 was recommended in a system by Kingspan for use in a particular building, and the existing suite of BS 8414 tests does not support that use, then Kingspan is fully committed to acting swiftly to evaluate what action is required, and to providing remediation as appropriate. Kingspan is already actively providing support on legacy projects.”

Kingspan Group plc made a pre-tax profit of £460m in 2020 on revenue of £4,576m.

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