Building and fire safety working group minutes: January 2018

Minutes of the meeting of the Ministerial Working Group on Building and Fire Safety that took place on 31 January 2018.

Attendees and apologies


  • Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities (Chair)
  • Minister for Local Government and Housing
  • Minister for Community Safety & Legal Affairs
  • Lesley Fraser, Director Housing & Social Justice
  • Stephen Gallagher, Interim Director for Local Government & Communities
  • David Signorini, Head of Better Homes
  • Bill Dodds, Building Standards
  • Stephen Garvin, Building Standards
  • Wendy Wilkinson, Deputy Director Safer Communities Division
  • David McGown, SFRS Assistant Chief Officer
  • Stuart Stevens, SFRS Area Manager
  • Martyn Emberson, HM Fire Service Inspectorate
  • Linda White, Safer Communities Division
  • Tom Steele, Health Facilities Scotland
  • Bill Connolly, Health Facilities Scotland
  • Emma Innocent, Communications
  • Rebecca Carradice, Private Office
  • Annie Howden, More Homes Division
  • Stephen Pathirana, Deputy Director, Building and Fire Safety Coordination Team
  • Shona Harper, Building and Fire Safety Coordination Team
  • William Hamilton, Building and Fire Safety Coordination Team


  • Christine McLaughlin, Director Health Finance
  • Jessica McPherson, Building and Fire Safety Coordination Team
  • Stephen Garland, Head of Housing Sustainability Unit
  • Alan Morrison, Health Finance
  • Jeanette Campbell, Special Adviser

Items and actions

1. Welcome and Action Points from previous meeting

It was noted that the minutes of the previous meeting held on Tuesday 14 November were agreed and published.

Update on previously agreed action points:

1: Scottish Government (SG) officials to continue dialogue with DCLG to establish details and determine next steps. COMPLETED. 2: Scottish Government to write to local authorities with regard to pre-2005 high-rise domestic buildings and high-rise non-domestic buildings where people sleep. COMPLETED.

2. Update on further information requests

Aluminium Composite Material (ACM)

SG officials updated the Ministerial Working Group (MWG) on the information returned by Local Authorities (LAs) regarding ACM. No further cases of ACM on high-rise private or social domestic buildings have been reported.

Glasgow City Council (GCC) has reported 6 high-rise non-domestic buildings with sleeping accommodation have ACM present. Aberdeen City Council (ACC) has reported 1 non-domestic building with ACM and 5 further non-domestic buildings which require further investigation. ACC will provide a further update to SG officials when this investigation is complete. The SFRS has carried out fresh fire safety audits and all identified buildings remain safe. The expectation is that the respective local authorities will work with owners to commission a fire engineer’s report and establish whether any additional action needs to be taken to reduce fire risk to the fabric of these buildings.

GCC continues to provide regular updates on its work with the owners of the Glasgow Harbour properties to agree a long term solution for the building. GCC has advised that residents’ consent has been received for GCC to complete a survey to assess the cost of replacing the cladding.

AP1 – SG officials to liaise with relevant LAs to ensure steps are being taken to commission fire engineer’s reports and establish whether further action is necessary.

External Wall Insulation (EWI)

On 9 November a letter was issued to LAs, housing associations and private sector property factors informing of the need for building owners to check that there had been proper specification and installation of certain EWI systems.

MWG stated that this work remains a priority. SG officials will continue to monitor returns in order to develop a clear picture.

AP2 – SG officials to identify if there are any patterns emerging which highlight specific installation programmes or contractors where problems have occurred in order that further investigations can be targeted.

NHS Update

The MWG was updated on the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH), programme of work to replace the cladding on aspects of both the adult and children’s hospital. Work is expected to start early summer 2018 and be completed early 2019.

An update was also received from NHS on external panelling at Royal Infirmary Edinburgh (RIE). Glasgow Caledonian University has undertaken detailed modelling work and advised that the type of panel at RIE does not pose a significant fire risk and will not need to be replaced, subject to an external perimeter protection system being in place as well as a high standard of internal active and passive precautions.

3. Fife Safety Regime Review

SG officials provided an update to the MWG. The current fire safety legislation for high-rise domestic buildings is complex and comes from a range of legislation. The initial focus will be on the fire safety regime for high-rise domestic buildings, to achieve this a Review Team of relevant SG policy officials and SFRS has been established as well as an Advisory Group of key stakeholders. The Review Team will report back its initial recommendations to the MWG in 6 months.

4. Building and Fire Safety Co-ordination Team Update

SG officials advised the MWG that the programme of work was progressing as planned.

It was noted that David Stewart MSP had lodged a proposed Member’s Bill on installation of sprinklers in social housing; this is happening in parallel to the review group on building fire safety standards set up by the MWG, which will consider the merits of sprinklers and other fire suppression systems as part of making buildings safer.

5. Dame Judith Hackitt Review – Interim Report

SG officials updated the MWG on the industry summit meeting held in London on the 26 January, held following publication of the interim report. Although Dame Judith’s review is of the English system, SG officials are contributing to her work, helping Dame Judith understand the way the Scottish system operates and also to ensure, where appropriate, lessons for improvement in Scotland are also considered.

MWG was content that that scope of the 3 review groups set up in Scotland, despite the differences between the Scottish and English systems, mirrored the scope of issues being considered by Dame Judith, however this would continue to be kept under review.

The MWG was asked to note that Dame Judith intends to visit Scotland on the 9th March and SG officials are liaising with UK government to develop a programme.

6. Consumer Product Safety

SG officials provided an update on the announcement of the creation of the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) by the UK Government. Consumer product safety is a reserved matter that is delivered through local authority trading standards departments. It was noted that in Scotland, the SFRS has a good working relationship with Trading Standards and they regularly communicate with one another. It was also noted that the SG’s Safer Communities Division has an interest in this area for community safety and is connected in to UK meetings.

The MWG identified the need to run a fire safety campaign in relation to leaving specific white goods switched on unattended. MWG considered the creation of OPSS a positive step and noted that it should be possible in the technological age in which we live for there to be greater traceability of dangerous white goods.

AP3 – SG officials and SFRS to develop a safety campaign around safe use of white goods and consider appropriate timing for launch.

7. AOB & date of future meetings

The MWG agreed the next meeting would be scheduled for the 22 March 2018 with a further meeting ahead of summer recess.



Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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