silent-march-through-london-for-grenfell-tower-fire-victims
A silent march took place through London for the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire

The project management consultants involved in refurbishing Grenfell Tower prior to the blaze that killed at least 80 people were pressured to cut costs, it has been reported.

Fireproof cladding planned for the ill-fated London building was apparently downgraded to save £293,000 after Kensington and Chelsea tenant management organisation (KCTMO) demanded from Artelia "good costs".

The revelations were made in the Times newspaper, which has seen correspondence which described "little evidence of safety concerns" regarding the £8.6m refurbishment.

An email described how using for cladding aluminium panels, which had a flammable polyethylene core, rather than zinc panels, could reduce costs by £293,368.

"We need good costs for Cllr Feilding-Mellen and the planner tomorrow at 8.45am!" the email reportedly read.

The paper reported how savings of £693,000 were needed from the main contractor Rydon which had been picked for the refurbishment in June 2014. Planning documents in the public domain emphasise costs instead of fire safety, it added.

Kensington council said the budget for the project was £6.m but Feilding-Mellen, had wanted increases taking it to £10.3 million by June 2014.

A spokesman said: "Cllr Feilding-Mellen and the cabinet were willing to approve significant and repeated increases in the overall budget based on the advice received from KCTMO, which was responsible not only for specifying and delivering the project but also for ensuring the building met the necessary and current building regulations.

"Any requests by Cllr Feilding-Mellen and the housing department to justify the TMO's requests for increases to the budget would have been made in the spirit of ensuring that public funds were being well managed and could be justified. Safety would not have been compromised."

The KCTMO has not commented while Rydon said it could not comment.

IThe judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick has said that he did not think the enquiry which he is heading, would be broad enough to satisfy the survivors of the tragedy whose final death toll is not expected to be known for months.

Meanwhile, a 52-year-old man was arrested on Thursday (29 June) on suspicion of lying that his wife and son had died in the fire.

The Met said it would investigate "anyone who seeks to capitalise on the suffering" of victims.