The second phase began with hearings delayed due to witnesses asking that ‘anything they say will not be used in criminal prosecutions’. This was granted and later extendedAfter resuming post COVID-19 suspensionthe first week heard a senior fire engineer ‘did not raise the need for any proposed cladding system to have a separate fire safety assessment’, while another was sent the cladding design report but didn't view it. 

Two fire consultants gave ‘no thought’ to evacuating disabled residents; Studio E and Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea clashed over fire safety; another consultant ‘had no clue that cladding was part of the plans’and a Studio E architect said no drawing records were kept and aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding was the ‘cheaper option’.

Rydon contracts manager Simon Lawrence admitted it ‘overlooked’ a key document ‘regarding the fire hazards of certain cladding materials’ and relied on other companies to check subcontractor work; admitted it ‘did not check’ the ‘expertise’ of Studio E; admitted it ‘pocketed’ £126,000 from the switch to ACM; denied giving assurances about ACM not burning ‘at all’; and called residents ‘rebels’ and ‘persistent and aggressive’.

There was ‘no evidence’ Rydon employees had responded to emails ‘seeking clarification on cladding safety’; and Rydon project manager Simon O’Connor admitted he ‘did not know’ about nor was 'familiar' with fire safety regulations or building regulations, and was ‘unaware’ of some responsibilities ‘as it was his first’ such jobThen, final site manager David Hughes believed Rydon had been ‘quite thorough’ in checking work quality.

Last week, refurbishment director Stephen Blake gave evidence, and the inquiry heard that Rydon was asked for a ‘quick and dirty’ costing for the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower, and was ‘informally advised’ it was first choice for the job ahead of the end of procurement. He then said he had been ‘haunted’ by the ‘lack of scrutiny’ that the cladding and window designs were given, before two of the site managers stated they had ‘assumed’ window insulation was fire resistant.

Daniel Osgood, who was one of those two managers, was reported by Architects Journal as one of the last witnesses before a recess until 7 September, and was ‘responsible for overseeing the installation of overcladding and window insulation’ for three months in 2015 prior to leaving after ‘criticism of his work’.

He said he had been chosen to work on Grenfell because of experience working for a cladding installer, but was questioned about accusations of incompetence made against him by Mr Lawrence, one of two Rydon managers Mr Osgood reported to. An email from Mr Lawrence to Mr Blake on 21 July 2015 read: ‘My concerns about [Osgood] relate to his lack of commitment to be responsible for his works and manage a situation proactively and adequately. I get the impression that Danny is willing to react but can’t be bothered to check [if things are] correct in the first place.’

Mr Lawrence’s email also stated that installation work by subcontractors on the show flat, ‘due to set the standard for the subsequent refurbishments’, was of a ‘sub-par standard’, and that Mr Osgood had ‘failed to notice or remediate’ this. After an inspection, he discovered ‘different pieces of trim being used on different adjacent windows’, and said to Mr Blake in his email that ‘some had been packed correctly whilst others deflected because they hadn’t be [sic] been installed the same’.

He concluded his email by saying Mr Osgood ‘is just a chancer who wants to do as little as possible and not be responsible for anything. Currently he is demotivating the others on site and none of the subbies want to deal with him. He needs to be moved asap’. Mr Osgood disagreed with this assessment of his work, and said he was ‘good’ at his job, as well as that subcontractors had ‘no problem’ working alongside him.

Mr Osgood also said that he only accepted the accusation about him not wanting to take responsibility ‘to a point’, with the inquiry hearing that three days after Mr Lawrence’s email to Mr Blake, Mr Osgood was moved to another Rydon project. He told the inquiry that his ‘strained’ relationship with Mr Lawrence ‘could have partly’ been the reason for this, but that ‘I don’t think [it was] entirely’.

He also noted that Rydon had subsequently ‘take[n] measures to make sure I knew how to do my job’, including that ‘they put me on courses and they sort of watched over me the next six months to see how I was doing’. Mr Osgood also said he had assumed cladding and insulation designs and materials were safe, but did not check personally, adding that ‘I wouldn’t ever have dreamt that anything was going on a building that wasn’t 100 per cent safe’.