An expert witness is a person who is called to give an opinion on matters which call for expert skill and knowledge. Their role is to provide technical analysis and expertise, which will assist the Inquiry in delivering its Terms of Reference.
Appointment of expert witnesses
The Inquiry has instructed a range of experts (as seen below) to prepare reports and is actively considering the requirement for additional or supplemental expertise as the evidential picture develops.
Core participants can also instruct their own experts but require the Chairman’s permission to submit a report to the Inquiry. Since it is the job of the Inquiry to carry out any necessary investigation, permission will be granted only in exceptional circumstances. If public funding to instruct an expert is sought, an application must be made to the Chairman.
Expectations of expert witnesses
- They must provide independent opinions confined to matters within their field;
- owe the Inquiry a duty to exercise reasonable care and skill;
- must comply with any relevant professional code of ethics;
- should take into account all relevant facts including any which might detract from their opinions and they should set out relevant facts and any literature or material upon which they rely;
- should indicate whether any opinion they express is provisional or qualified and whether any additional information is required; and
- should inform the Inquiry if they change their opinion on any relevant matter.
The reports all experts prepare will be disclosed to all core participants, published on the Inquiry website and presented during the evidential hearings. They will form part of the evidential record and will be used to write the Phase 1 and 2 reports.
Professor Luke Bisby is reporting on the ignition of the façade materials (including the cladding and insulation) and the fire spread over the building’s external façade.
In Phase 2, Professor Bisby is producing a number of reports. These cover the performance and respective contributions of the materials and products which formed part of the exterior of the building and their contribution to the initiation, growth and spread of fire; and conclusions on the relative contributions of the cladding design and materials to the fire spread both to, and on the exterior of, the building.
The Inquiry has instructed Professor Bisby to undertake a programme of experiments in collaboration with Professor José Torero. The experiments aim to understand and quantify the respective roles of the various materials and products that made up the cladding system at Grenfell Tower, under a range of relevant fire conditions and system geometries.
Professor Bisby’s reports also cover a review of the standard compliance testing regime for cladding materials and products and a review of large-scale cladding tests, including a review of extended applications developed on the basis of them. He has also been asked to consider whether the 2019 BRE large-scale reconstruction of the fire in Flat 16, Grenfell Tower causes him to change or alter the evidence he gave in Phase 1.
Prof. Niamh Nic Daeid is reporting on the cause and spread of the fire in the flat of origin and the spread of fire within and out of that compartment.
After consulting Core Participants, in Phase 2 the Panel decided to terminate the instructions of Prof. Edwin Galea. The Panel reached this decision because it had come to the view that the computer model that he and his team were constructing would not help it fulfil its terms of reference. In those circumstances the Inquiry could not justify the expense of the work. The decision does not reflect any lack of confidence in the science of computer modelling, much less Prof Galea’s undoubted skill in that field. The Panel recognises that modelling of this kind is a valuable tool which can make a significant contribution to design and planning, but making decisions of that kind is not the function of the Panel. The panel remains enormously grateful to Prof Galea and wish him well in his future work.
Dr. J. Duncan Glover is reporting on the assessment of the electrical fire origin in Flat 16 within the area of fire origin established by other investigators.
Rodney Hancox is reporting on the legislation, regulations, guidance and industry practice relevant to the gas supply to and within Grenfell Tower and the extent to which the presence of gas contributed to the spread of the fire and to the conditions inside Grenfell Tower on the night of 14 June 2017.
Roger Howkins will be producing a report for Phase 2 of the Inquiry's work, considering: relevant legislation and guidance for fire lifts and firefighting lifts and whether the lift in Grenfell Tower as installed/refurbished were compliant; if the Tenant Management Organisation’s policy on firefighting lifts complied with the relevant standards; If not, to what extent did they fail to comply and what impact would this have had on their functionality; If the lifts were maintained to an appropriate standard and in compliance with the relevant standards and industry practice; and how the lifts performed on the night of the fire and reasons for any failure to perform?
Paul Hyett is reporting on the architectural design in relation to the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower, including: the choice of materials; the development of the design; compliance with legislation and regulations; and the quality of the workmanship.
Chris Johnson is reporting on matters relating to the LFB’s communications which were used on the night of 14 June 2017.
Dr Barbara Lane is reporting on the fire protection measures within the building and preliminary conclusions on the extent to which they failed to control the spread of fire and smoke and contributed to the speed at which the fire spread.
For Phase 2, Dr Lane is providing reports on her final conclusions on the active and passive fire protection measures within Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017, and the extent to which they complied with relevant regulations, legislation, guidance and industry practice, failed to control the spread of fire and smoke, and contributed to the speed at which the fire spread; and the decisions relating to the modification, refurbishment, management and maintenance of Grenfell Tower.
Steve McGuirk is reporting on the adequacy of the London Fire Brigade's inspections, risk assessments, procedures and training, the fire-fighting response on the night of 14 June 2017 and recommendations for any changes to training and practice in response to similar incidents.
Beryl Menzies is reporting on the application for building control approval in relation to the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower and whether the steps taken by all the relevant parties complied with the relevant legislation, regulations and guidance.
Prof. David Purser is reporting on the production of toxic gases in fires similar to that at Grenfell Tower and the consequences of inhaling toxic gases in such circumstances; the likely causes of incapacitation and death at Grenfell Tower; and the toxicity when exposed to fire of certain materials which were present at the time of the fire.
Jonathan Sakula will provide an expert report to the Inquiry on a series of questions about the state
of knowledge within the cladding industry during the period January 2012 to June 2017.
Prof. Anna A. Stec is reporting on the fire derived toxicants and related deposits present in the Tower and their origins, in terms of construction products, furniture and furnishings; and where combustible building products were present on the tower exterior (including ACM and insulation) and window surrounds, and the extent (if any) to which their combustion products penetrated and left identifiable deposits inside the Tower, in individual flats, lobbies and the stairs.
Dr. Ivan Stoianov is reporting on the sufficiency of water supply and water pressure to Grenfell Tower for the purpose of providing water to allow the London Fire Brigade to effectively fight the fire on 14 June 2017.
Colin Todd is reporting on the different statutory and regulatory requirements in force over the lifetime of Grenfell Tower and the adequacy of fire risk assessments in the case of Grenfell Tower including those carried out pursuant to the Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005.
In phase 2, Mr Todd will provide a report on the adequacy of risk assessments in the case of Grenfell Tower, including those carried out pursuant to the provisions of the Regulatory Reform Order 2015.
Professor Jose Torero is reporting on the fire spread throughout the building.
In Phase 2, Professor Torero is producing reports on the relative contributions of the cladding design and materials to the fire spread at Grenfell Tower; the correlation between fire safety provisions and the LFB's procedures for dealing with fires in high-rise buildings and the adequacy of firefighter training for dealing with these fires; an analysis of the adequacy of the current testing regime; and an overview of conclusions to be drawn about the Grenfell Tower fire.
The Inquiry has instructed Professor José Torero to undertake a programme of experiments in collaboration with Professor Luke Bisby. The experiments aim to understand and quantify the respective roles of the various materials and products that made up the cladding system at Grenfell Tower, under a range of relevant fire conditions and system geometries.
In addition, Professor Torero has been asked to consider whether the 2019 BRE large-scale reconstruction of the fire in Flat 16, Grenfell Tower causes him to change or alter the evidence he gave in Phase 1.