Scotland’s ‘already more advanced’ fire sprinkler legislation to be further enhanced but the story lacks the kind of news values Reporting Scotland’s editor requires



From the Scottish Government site today:

‘Legislation to make sprinkler systems compulsory in new social housing is to be taken forward. Housing Minister Kevin Stewart confirmed that the Scottish Government will take forward David Stewart MSP’s proposal for a Members’ Bill to make it a legal requirement for all future new build social housing properties to be fitted with sprinkler systems.’

The situation in Scotland is already superior to that in England according to

‘Scotland is more advanced with its fire sprinkler legislation, which since 2005 has required sprinklers in all residential buildings including care homes, sheltered housing, school accommodation and high rises above 18m in height…… In England, only new residential properties above 30m in height must be fitted with sprinklers.’

BBC Non-Scottish parts of the UK has made similar points:

‘Regulations in England mean that only buildings constructed since 2007 and which are taller than 30m are required to have sprinklers fitted. This requirement wasn’t applied retroactively so did not apply to Grenfell Tower, which was built in 1974…… In Scotland all new residential buildings taller than 18m must be fitted with sprinklers. In Wales since last year, all new and refurbished residential accommodation must have sprinklers.’

Sprinkler systems are only part of the solution. Rigorous building control actions covering materials may have already saved Scotland from any Grenfell scenario. In the aftermath of Grenfell, both the Times and the FT reported specifically on the different situation in Scotland and the rest of the UK with regard to the fire safety regulations for tower blocks.

The Times reported:

No residential buildings with flammable cladding have been identified in Scotland’

The FT were damning in their verdict:

‘How lax building rules contributed to Grenfell disaster Warnings on fire risk ignored as governments appeared to focus on cutting red tape.’

The FT went on to explain 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.’

No such lessons appeared to have been learned in England where governments were urged to tighten regulations, but no action was taken. There is now a rush to remove flammable cladding from more than 500 blocks and resignations have begun.

BBC Scotland News did not repeat these comments. There’s no sign of it today, so far.

Footnote:  The need to maintain these strong building control practices is just one more piece in the case for Independence.

Footnote 2: Glasgow School of Art?




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