Building and fire safety working group minutes: October 2017

Minutes of the meeting of the Ministerial Working Group on Building and Fire Safety, which took place on 5 October 2017.

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
  • Kenneth Hogg, Director for Local Government & Communities
  • Bill Dodds, Head of Building Standards
  • Alan Morrison , Health Finance
  • Wendy Wilkinson, Deputy Director Safer Communities Division
  • Tom Hardy, Fire Safety Unit, Safer Communities Division
  • Simon Routh-Jones, Assistant Inspector, HM Fire Service Inspectorate
  • David McGown, SFRS Assistant Chief Officer
  • Stuart Stevens, SFRS Area Manager
  • Tom Steele, Health Facilities Scotland
  • Bill Connolly, Health Facilities Scotland
  • Jeanette Campbell, Special Adviser
  • Morven Doyle, Safer Communities
  • Shona Harper, SG Property Division
  • Lesley Brown, Communications
  • Stuart Mclean, Private Office
  • Angus MacLeod ,Fuel Poverty Unit

For agenda item 2 only

  • Annemarie O’Donnell, Glasgow City Council
  • Richard Brown, Glasgow City Council


  • Martyn Emberson, HM Fire Service Inspectorate
  • Christine McLaughlin, Director Health Finance

Items and actions

1. Welcome and Action Points from previous meeting

It was noted that the minutes of the previous meeting held on Friday 8 September were agreed and published.

Update on previously agreed action points:

1: Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh cladding panels to be sent to BRE for testing. COMPLETED. Discussed further at item 2.
2: Request further analysis of Glasgow City Council data in relation to private high rise domestic buildings. COMPLETED. Discussed further at item 2.
3: Minister to discuss with UK counterparts when outcomes of UK Government peer review is known. Carried forward. Discussed further at item 5.

2. Update on information gathering

Privately owned high rise domestic buildings

Glasgow City Council (GCC) officials gave an oral update on their work to establish whether high rise privately owned domestic buildings used Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) in their cladding systems. GCC confirmed they had conducted further scrutiny of the information given to the Ministerial Working Group (MWG) at the meeting on the 8th September 2017.

GCC officials gave details of the ongoing work to communicate and engage with private high rise building owners, residents and factors. The MWG was given assurance by GCC and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) that there had been full engagement between them and that all buildings identified with ACM in their cladding systems had received an operational fire safety visit.

GCC stated that they will prioritise any required actions in relation to any buildings with ACM in their cladding systems, working collaboratively with owners and factors and the SFRS, to ensure any required testing of materials is done and that a satisfactory conclusion is reached. GCC was clear that the safety of residents in these buildings is a priority and gave assurance that they will continue to liaise proactively with residents, owners and factors to offer advice and assistance.

Ongoing support from Scottish Government was offered to GCC on this matter.

AP1 – GCC to provide regular progress reports to MWG.

NHS Estate

Health Facilities Scotland gave an update on the NHS estate and the MWG noted that:

  • work to replace aspects of the cladding system on the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) will commence in the new year; and
  • initial testing of cladding panels at Royal Infirmary Edinburgh (RIE) had confirmed that the panels were sandwich type panels and not ACM. Fire testing by British Research Establishment (BRE) and mathematical modelling of fire spread by Caledonian University is underway. Results of this work will assist in determining the next steps. It was noted that mitigating safety measures are already in place at the RIE as a precautionary measure.

Higher and Further Education

Following further analysis and review of the technical responses received by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) no issues had been identified. It was noted that SFC intended to write to all institutions reminding them of their responsibility to comply with relevant regulations and legislation. SFC would ask to be kept updated on any issues that arise in the future and what action institutions had taken in response to those issues.

Tourist Accommodation

British Hotel Association (BHA) had agreed to write to their larger hotel chain members with a response date of end October. Information received will be reported at the next meeting in December.

3. Fire Safety Campaign

SFRS gave an update on the planned National Fire Safety Campaign. The campaign would run from mid October through to end of 2017. An update was also given on the recently published National Fire Chiefs Council guidance and SFRS’s plan to develop a Scotland specific version.

4. Update on work programme

An update was given on key elements of the work programme.

Review of Building Standards: Chairs have been appointed to the two review groups – Professor John Cole (compliance and enforcement) and Dr Paul Stollard (fire safety). The remits of both reviews was noted and there was agreement that these required to be fluid in order to respond to any emerging issues.

Fire & Smoke Alarm Consultation: It was noted that the consultation was underway and was being promoted at relevant stakeholder events.

Inventory of High Rise Domestic Buildings: It was noted that the specification was complete and the tender expected to be published on Public Contracts Scotland on 5 October 2017.

5. External Wall Insulation & BBA

The MWG discussed the recent report on External Wall Insulation (EWI) by the UK Standing Committee on Structural Safety. It was noted that Ministers and SG officials continued to liaise with UK Ministers and officials on this and that a coordinated approach to any further advice and actions required was preferred. Detailed advice was in development by DCLG however Ministers noted that they wish to move swiftly and would write to UK Ministers seeking clarity on timescales.

AP2 – Scottish Minsters to write to the UK Government re: EWI.

6. AOB & date and focus of future meetings

The MWG agreed that a meeting before the end of November would be preferable. Dates to be confirmed.



Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

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