The fire risk assessor hired to check the security of Grenfell Tower put letters after his name suggesting professional listings that did not exist or that he did not have, the disaster investigation heard .
Carl Stokes, a former firefighter who was recruited by the Grenfell owner, used six “post-nominals” when bidding for the job, but agreed in cross-examination during the disaster investigation that they were either “out of [his] own head because they did not exist or were completely misleading ‘truncations’ of the courses he had taken.
The investigation learned that Stokes had also cut and pasted fire safety assessments of the tower from reports on other buildings he had made. This introduced errors in the fire risk assessments that were required by law.
For example, on three occasions he reported that the Grenfell Tower had balconies, which it did not, which the investigation found to be “a slam dunk cut and paste”. He admitted that he should have changed the wording.
Stokes carried out six fire safety checks on the tower where 72 people died in the fire on June 14, 2017. They were undertaken from 2009 to 2016, before, during and after the disastrous renovation.
His job was to check evacuation routes, firefighting equipment and vital safety measures, including fire door closers, several of which were not functioning at the time of the fire. He told the investigation that he was aware of the risk of combustible siding on high-rise buildings, but said his job was to check the common areas rather than the exterior or interior cladding system. apartments.
Stokes, who set up as a Fire Risk Assessor after retiring from the Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service, got the post of the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organization (TMO) after describing his qualification in a way that one survey expert said would. mislead ”customers.
In an example of a fire risk assessment he provided to the TMO when seeking the job, he claimed he was a “firefighter (FPA)” – even though such a fire engineering qualification did not exist. ‘does not exist. He said he was an IFE Evaluator / Auditor (FSO), giving the impression, investigation lawyer Richard Millett QC suggested, that he was a member of the Institute of Firefighters, which he said. was not.
He also wrote “NEBOSH”, “FIA BS5839 system designer” and “competent engineer BS 5266” after his name, but agreed with Millett that “these are also not post-nominals recognized by a professional body”.
They actually reflected courses he had taken, which did not allow him to use post-nominals. He also claimed to have three years of experience as an independent fire risk assessor, when he had at most 15 months, according to the investigation.
Stokes insisted he had no intention of cheating and told the inquest that if anyone had asked him he would have told them he did not have the professional qualifications.
Asked about the use of the letters IFE, he replied, “If you had looked, I wouldn’t be on the list. There is never anything else to go wrong, or even to highlight anything else, but it is lessons and skills. With hindsight, it would have been much easier to clarify. “
Colin Todd, a fire engineer and survey expert, said Stokes’ use of the letters after his name “would significantly mislead clients and potential clients as to his qualifications, regardless of his skill level. “.
Stokes didn’t accept this, saying, “If someone had asked me, I would have explained it and told them… I didn’t understand the use of postnotes, sorry. “
The investigation also learned that when Stokes got his first fire safety assessment job in 2009, he claimed on his resume that he assessed and checked the common areas of high-rise buildings under the safety order. fire, a key law. But when he insisted on that point, he told the inquest that he had “walked around the council buildings in Oxford, the towers”.
“Watching them is an audit,” he said, but then admitted that he had never undertaken a fire risk assessment and that what he had written was “incorrect”.
The investigation is continuing.