The managing architect on the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower in England had no experience of overcladding residential blocks, the inquiry into the disaster has heard.

Bruce Sounes was in charge of the refurbishment design of the 24-storey tower block, his boss Andrzej Kuszell, director of Studio E architects, told the Grenfell Tower Inquiry today.

Richard Millett QC, lead lawyer for the inquiry, questioned Mr Kuszell on the selection of the team for the project.

He asked: “You told us he (Mr Sounes) said he didn’t have any experience of overcladding an occupied residential high-rise building,” to which Mr Kuszell said: “Correct.”

Mr Millett continued: “Until Neil Crawford joined in 2014, the team of professional architects on the Grenfell Tower project was not experienced at overcladding a residential tower block.”

Mr Kuszell confirmed that was also true.

Studio E was involved in the regeneration of neighbouring Kensington Academy and Leisure Centre (KALC), and later Grenfell Tower itself.

We put the project in the hands of one of our most senior and experienced people… I had no reason to believe we wouldn’t be able to do it

The inquiry also heard that the firm “got a bit of stick” for another design on the KALC project when “somebody made a comment that Studio E aren’t exactly residential architects”.

However, Mr Kuszell said he had faith his firm could complete the Grenfell job.

He said: “I believed we had the processes and experience of complex buildings to be able to undertake this commission. It wasn’t just my belief, it was clearly the belief of all senior members.”

He added: “We put the project in the hands of one of our most senior and experienced people… I had no reason to believe we wouldn’t be able to do it.”

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