Building Regulations 'Need Thorough And Critical Review'
29 June 2017, 05:30
A group reviewing fire safety in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy has concluded that it must undertake a "thorough and critical review'' of building regulations.
The second meeting of a Ministerial Working Group to examine building and fire safety regulatory frameworks was held on Wednesday.
The group, involving Scottish Government officials and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, is overseeing a review of building and fire safety with a focus on high-rise domestic buildings, following the tragic fire in west London.
Ministers praised the work of local authorities and private property owners to carry out resource-intensive checks of their buildings, but said a "critical review of regulations'' was necessary.
Angela Constance, Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities said: "While we continue to be confident that we have stringent building and fire safety regulations which contribute to keeping people safe, following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower, it is imperative that we undertake a thorough and critical review of our regulations.
"The group agreed to continue with the evidence-led approach that has been followed since the Grenfell Tragedy.
"This has meant the initial priority focus was on high-rise domestic properties, then on other priority areas including schools and hospitals.''
Checks have found no Scottish local-authority owned schools above 18 metres have the type of cladding used on the Grenfell tower - aluminium composite material (ACM).
No high-rise domestic buildings owned by councils or housing associations have used ACM cladding.
29 of 32 local authorities said ACM cladding had not been used on any privately-owned high-rise domestic buildings.
High rise domestic properties in Scotland mean the type of product used in Grenfell Tower should not be used in their cladding systems.
All health boards have confirmed that none of their buildings used the same cladding type in the fire-hit London building.
The Scottish Government has asked the Scottish Funding Council to write to Universities Scotland and Colleges Scotland to ensure all colleges and universities are assessing their estate.
ACM cladding was found on a halls of residence in Edinburgh and the group said it was "being removed as a precaution''.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said an additional 300 operational assurance visits had been carried out since the Grenfell Tower fire in addition to 230 additional home fire safety visits to residents in high-rise buildings.
Ms Constance added: "We will continue to prioritise and are now looking at the next areas of focus which will be any high-rise properties where people sleep overnight that have not already been captured by local authority's initial investigations. We'll also look at other properties where there are expected to be vulnerable people living.
"I'd like to thank all local authorities, the fire and rescue service, housing associations and numerous other building owners across Scotland who are working extremely hard at the moment to reassure the public about the safety of their buildings.
"We'll continue this partnership to ensure collectively we are doing our utmost to reassure members of the public of the safety of Scotland's buildings.''