Work begins to dismantle sections of Mackintosh building

The Mackintosh building has been left ravaged by a second fire in four years

WORK is underway to dismantle dangerous sections of the Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh Library following the recent fire at the historic site.

Glasgow-based structural engineers David Narro Associates and Coatbridge-based contractor Reigart have devised a methodology for the works, which has been shared with Glasgow City Council Building Standards and Historic Environment Scotland.

Work is expected to last several weeks and will be undertaken using manual dismantling of the masonry, which will be accessed by a combination of Mobile Elevated Working Platforms (MEWP) and crane hoists. It will be carried out as a controlled dismantling by Reigart.

GSA said masonry and brickwork will need to be dismantled “brick by brick, block by block” with heavier high level stonework removed and transferred via hoists which will then be lowered down to street level for sorting and storage off-site. Where possible and safer to do so, plainer areas of facades will be lowered into the site for later removal.

Dominic Echlin of David Narro Associates said, “The primary aim of the initial works is to make the building safe and structurally stable. It is important to understand that our agreed approach is the safest way to dismantle the dangerous elements of the building and, importantly, ensure there is no damage to nearby properties or risk to those working on site.

“The contractor is starting today (July 10) to reduce the height of the high level walls on the south side of the building, carefully taking down damaged and unstable masonry. With the machinery brought to site the contractor can work on several ‘fronts’, so after a start today in the middle of the south façade, we will quickly move on to reducing height to the top parts of the south-east corner and east façade. Work will then follow on the west end and then parts of north façade.

“This sequence has been determined so we keep the building as stable as possible and the dismantling controlled throughout the process.”