Scottish Government announces consultation on tougher safety standards on Grenfell anniversary
The Scottish Government has announced a consultation on tougher building safety standards to coincide with the first anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire which killed 72 people.
Vigils are set to take place across Scotland today and this weekend to commemorate those who lost their lives in the disaster.
The Scottish Government has received advice from two expert panels chaired by Dr Paul Stollard and Professor John Cole.
Dr Stollard, chair of the Fire Regulations in Building Standards Review Group, has proposed expanding the use of sprinkler systems in Houses in Multiple Occupancies (HMOs) that are used as care facilities.
Professor Cole, chair of the Compliance and Enforcement in Building Standards Review Group, advised that changes to the completion certificate process are needed to drive building standard compliance of buildings critical safety aspects, and that a national hub of building standards experts be established to oversee the verification of complex and high rise buildings.
Communities Secretary Angela Constance said: “The Ministerial Working Group on Building and Fire Safety took place one year on from the Grenfell Tower fire where 72 people lost their lives and our thoughts remain with those affected by this tragedy at this difficult time. It has coordinated work to identify inappropriate cladding, reassure residents and enlist expert help to review the changes we need to make our building standards and fire advice safer.
“Professor Cole and Dr Stollard’s and work has shown that we are starting from a point of safety and we will move quickly to consult on their recommendations to create the most robust system possible that delivers even safer buildings.
“I would like to thank Dr Stollard, Professor Cole, their panel members, local authorities, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and everyone who has worked with us to reassure residents at a time of great uncertainty and continue to assist us to improve our systems and standards.”
Professor Cole said: “I am very encouraged by the proactive response of the Scottish Government in seeking to address a number of weaknesses that have come to the fore in the current compliance with, and enforcement, of building standards.
“There has been a comprehensive review of the current system which has resulted in the development of a number of proposals which, if implemented, should restore any loss of confidence in the safety of our new buildings.”
Dr Stollard added: “It has been a privilege to chair such a distinguished review panel and I was delighted we could achieve a consensus on the way forward.
“Scotland has for years prohibited the use of the most combustible cladding materials. Our recommendations suggest ways of strengthening these controls while ensuring that innovation is still possible providing it is carefully checked by competent authorities.”