Scottish Government moves to allay cladding fears

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Initial responses from local authorities suggest the type of aluminium composite material cladding used on the Grenfell Tower has not been used on any local authority high-rise blocks in Scotland, the Scottish Government has confirmed.

The announcement was made following the first meeting of the government’s ministerial working group, which was set up in the wake of the tragic fire last week, to examine building and fire safety frameworks, with an initial focus on high-rise domestic buildings.

The meeting was chaired by Communities Secretary Angela Constance with Housing Minister Kevin Stewart and Community Safety Minister Annabelle Ewing, who were joined by officials from building standards, fire and rescue, local government and housing.

The group agreed a number of initial actions. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service will continue to carry out additional operational assurance visits to high-rise buildings; work to develop a common standard of housing quality across both private and social rented housing, as well as to consult on and review standards for fire and smoke detectors, will be expedited; the working group will also consider current regulations and evidence base for sprinkler systems to determine whether further should be taken.

Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities Angela Constance commented, “While we’re confident that in Scotland 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.

“Public safety is of paramount importance and, while the cause of the Grenfell Tower fire remains unknown at present, there can be no room for complacency. Communities across Scotland rightly want to know that we are taking all appropriate action and can provide them with the necessary reassurance required.

“That is why Ministers have instructed Scottish Government officials to work closely with local authorities and the fire service to review all of Scotland’s high-rise domestic buildings, construction work that has taken place, the materials of any cladding and whether further action needs be taken as precautionary measure to prevent fire.

“Initial responses from local authorities suggests the type of aluminium composite material cladding reported to have been used on the Grenfell Tower, has not been used on their high-rise blocks and this would be consistent with our current building standards regulations.

“We will continue to gather information from our local authorities and we will take a proactive and safety-first approach to this issue while we wait for information from the investigation in London.”