Grenfell Tower fire engineers gave no thought to evacuating disabled residents because it was not required by law, the inquiry into the blaze has heard.
One told the hearing earlier this week: “If they did have mobility issues then maybe Grenfell Tower wasn’t the best place for them to live.”
At least 22 disabled people lived above the 10th floor of the 24-storey west London block before it went up in flames in June 2017, killing 72 people, the inquiry heard on Thursday.
They included the partially sighted and physically disabled grandmother Sakineh Afrasiabi, 65, who was housed on the 18th floor of the building and died in the blaze.
Her daughter Nazanin Aghlani has alleged that the local authority agreed in 2003 that she should not be placed in a flat that was above the fourth floor.
The inquiry is not sitting on Friday, but during proceedings this week fire engineers from Exova suggested responsibility for plans to evacuate disabled residents lay with the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO).
Senior consultant Terry Ashton told the inquiry there were more safety provisions for disabled people in commercial buildings than in residential ones.
He said: “There are no recommendations in the documentation issued by Government departments or others as to what you do about means of escape for disabled persons in residential buildings.
“You might say, ‘Well, there should be’. But the fact is there are not.
“I’m not saying that’s right. But that’s what it is at the moment.”
He added: “Under means of escape for disabled persons, there are no requirements, you are not required to provide facilities for them to escape.”
Inquiry lawyer Kate Grange QC asked: “Does that mean, then, you just don’t think about it any more?”
Mr Ashton said: “Well, exactly.”
Mr Ashton produced three outline fire safety strategies for the block’s refurbishment between September 2012 and November 2013 despite never visiting the site itself.
His colleague Clare Barker, who signed off a fire safety report for the building pre-refurbishment in 2012, said the TMO should have considered that a “high-rise residential building might not be an appropriate place” to house disabled people.
Asked about a lack of detail in the report for evacuating people with mobility issues, Dr Barker said: “I did not consider that.
“Because again if they did have mobility issues then maybe Grenfell Tower wasn’t the best place for them to live.”
Inquiry lawyer Richard Millett QC displayed passages of Approved Document B – widely used for building guidance in England – which displayed “at the very least a consciousness that fire safety systems should take account of people with mobility issues”.
He asked Dr Barker of the report: “Can you explain … why there was no advice given to the TMO in it about how their fire safety strategy was going to keep people with mobility issues safe in the event of an evacuation?”
She replied: “No, I can’t explain.”
The draft fire safety strategy stated: “Due to an assumed high degree of compartmentation and therefore a low probability of fire spread beyond the dwelling of fire origin, simultaneous evacuation of the building is unlikely to be considered necessary.”
Mr Ashton was asked what investigations he made to confirm what the “compartmentation would be after the refurbishment given that those were the evacuation assumptions”.
He replied: “I didn’t make any assumptions, and it wasn’t part of our agreed scope of works to visit the building after the works to see that a satisfactory degree of compartmentation had been provided.
“Had it been asked for, that would have been in our fee proposal.”
The building suffered a “rapid loss of compartmentation” after “a number of key fire protection measures inside the tower failed”, the inquiry found in its first phase.
It caused the “stay-put” policy to become untenable.