Leaving aside their tabloid and inaccurate language in describing the fact that the Scottish Government will meet the cost of replacing the 5% only of the cladding which is ‘similar’ with:
‘Taxpayers will foot the £6m bill for replacing cladding panels on two new Glasgow hospitals.’
BBC Scotland News open with an attempt to simply and directly associate the disaster with a risk at the hospitals:
‘Cladding similar to that used on the Grenfell Tower is to be removed from the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital and the Royal Hospital for Children…. Cladding made from an aluminium composite material is thought to have contributed to the rapid spread of the fire which engulfed Grenfell Tower in June 2017.’
Only several paragraphs later do they begin to reveal the truth
‘And after “forensic checks” last summer, cladding similar to, but not the same as that used on the London tower, was found on sections of the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital. The [NHS] spokeswoman added: “The board has been given assurances from the National Fire Officer that the hospitals are amongst the safest buildings in the UK in terms of fire engineering, however the decision was taken replace panels to give extra reassurance to the public, our patients and our staff.”’
The BBC report, critically for understanding, does not explain the two key differences between the panels used at Grenfell and those on the hospitals. First, the ‘chimney effect’ at Grenfell:
‘TV architect George Clarke said: “There’s a new cladding system put on the outsides (of the block of flats) that looks like a new skin. There’s an air gap, and insulation behind that; to me that looks like a fantastic chimney for the fire to rage around.”’
See this diagram:
The above air gap is not allowed on Scottish buildings. The Times explained in 2017, how the Scottish Government had clearly learned from a smaller though still tragic incident in 1999:
‘On June 11th, 1999, a disabled man was killed as a fire tore quickly through eight floors of the Scottish tower block he was living in. Alexander Linton, 55, may not be widely remembered, but his death sparked a review of Scottish building regulations that may have saved lives. After exterior cladding on the council-owned tower block in Irvine was blamed for the rapid spread of the fire, Scottish rules were changed. Now the outside walls of buildings must be designed to “inhibit” the spread of fire, and these requirements are backed up by a tough inspection regime.’
See also, this clarification from reader STU:
‘Can’t comment on English regs, but up here we require cavity barriers at each floor level, around door/window openings, at corners, and spaced at, for example, 6 metre centres. All designed to prevent the chimney effect and fire spreading through cavities.
I’m mystified as to why no journalists have picked up on this in reference to the SNP hospital…’
Second, the manufacturer of the Kingspan Kooltherm K15 Rainscreen board used in the hospitals said: ‘they were combined with different materials in the London block’s cladding than at the 14-storey Glasgow hospital’.
So, the panels are being replaced only ‘to give extra reassurance.’