Scottish Advice Note Technical Working Group minutes: 12 February 2021

Minutes from the fourth meeting of the Technical Working Group to develop a Scottish Advice Note determining the fire risk posed by external wall systems in existing multi-storey residential buildings.

Attendees and apologies


  • Dr Stephen Garvin, Head of Building Standards, SG (Chair)
  • Luke Bisby, University of Edinburgh
  • Jim McGonigal, IFE
  • Colin Todd, CS Todd & Associates
  • Alan McAulay, LABSS
  • Chris Getty, SFRS
  • Charles-Elie Romeyer, MHCLG
  • Debbie Smith, BRE
  • Bill Connolly, NHS
  • Steven Scott, Building Standards, SG
  • Colin Hird, Building Standards, SG
  • Gavin Gray, Fire and Rescue Unit, SG
  • Benny Rooney, Building Standards, SG
  • Karen Coyne, Better Homes, SG
  • Shona Harper, More Homes, SG


  • Simon Routh-Jones, HM Fire Inspectorate
  • Craig Ross, RICS
  • Steven Daws, CS Todd and Associates
  • Stephen Wood, SFRS
  • Chris Booth, Fire and Rescue Unit, SG
  • Tom Hardy, Fire and Rescue Unit, SG 
  • Naeem Bhatti, Better Homes, SG
  • Ross Lindsay, More Homes, SG

Items and actions

Welcome, introductions and meeting protocol

The chair welcomed members of the Technical Working Group and explained the meeting protocol.  The group comprised representation from academia, professional institutions, local authority building standards, fire testing, research and consultancy, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, National Health Service, UK and Scottish Government (SG) officials. 

Minutes of third meeting 3 June 2020

The chair provided a summary of discussions from the previous meeting held on the 3 June 2020. Minutes were agreed via email and published on the MWG website. 

Ministerial Working Groups (MWG) update    

Members were provided with an update on the MWG on Building and Fire Safety and the MWG on Mortgage Lending and Cladding. The key points were as follows: 

  • the last meeting of MWG was held on 26 November 2020, the next meeting is scheduled for early March 2021. Minutes of meetings are also published on the MWG website – link to minutes were provided on the agenda
  • members attention was drawn to the recommendation that a comprehensive communication plan be prepared and share with the MWG prior to publication of the SAN
  • a further limited engagement exercise with stakeholders (outside the TWG) will be undertaken the details of which will be agreed with Ministers. Action : BSD
  • comment was made that Ministers were keen to ensure that the SAN does not conflict with RICS work on ESW1 and Mortgage Lending and Cladding
  • an update was provided on actions taken by the MWG on mortgage lending and cladding on 28 January

EKOS independent analysis of consultation responses

Members were provided with an overview of the consultation responses from the EKOS report providing an independent analysis of responses to the consultation on the SAN. General comments discussion and points made included:

  • members thought this to be a good report given the limited number of responses
  • members indicated that the report reflected the targeted nature of engagement
  • members discussed concerns raised over alignment of the SAN (life safety) with RICS guidance (property valuation and use of ESW1 form)
  • it was indicated to members that as a result of the consultation  the SAN has been re-structured and amended significantly - Part 1 for owners and managers (user-friendly and less technical) and Part 2 for fire engineers and risk assessors/appraisal experts (more technical and detailed)
  • members discussed various points raised by respondents within the consultation report

Draft Scottish Advice Note v4 - post consultation

Members were provided with an overview of the revised draft Scottish Advice Note following the comments received during the consultation. The following points were made:

  • members were informed that the revised drat SAN was now split into two parts: Part 1 is general advice aimed at building owners and managers; Part 2 is for the specialists undertaking appraisals
  • slight revision to section on fire safety law in response to some comments received
  • comment was made that the SAN was not for mortgage lending or valuation purposes and this should be made more explicit at the beginning of the document
  • one member indicated that in England, increasing concerns are being raised over confusion between EWS1 and what is required under fire safety legislation. It was stressed that there needs to be better distinction between EWS1 and an external wall appraisal to satisfy legislation
  • other members agreed it would be worthwhile stressing the life safety purpose of the SAN and that it is not for valuation or property protection purposes
  • one member indicated the need to reengage with key stakeholders, including lenders and insurers to understand the extent to which SAN assessment can provide reassurance both for life safety and contribute to addressing their concerns
  • members discussed merits of removing or keeping Table 1 relating to calorific values of the different core types and categories of ACM used by the UK Government following the Grenfell Tower fire
  • members discussed utilising reports from other UKAS accredited fire test laboratories or members of the European Group of Organisations for Fire Testing, Inspection and Certification in relation to BS 8414
  • members discussed whether an A1/A2 cladding system could fail BS 8414/135
  • members discussed when an intrusive appraisal of an EWS may be required
  • one member indicated that PAS 9980 is going to be the new document for FRA and appraisals (FRAAs)
  • members discussed the a lack of confidence in completion certificates issued
  • members discussed competence and the ‘Setting the Bar’ report on what risk assessors can be reasonable expected to do for higher risk residential buildings
  • members were informed that to improve flow and clarity on the key subject of external cladding systems, some detail has been removed and is presented in 5 Annexes to the main document, following comments made in the targeted consultation
  • members discussed common types of EWS
  • members discussed the potential inclusion of Case Studies within the guidance. Group members were invited to forward examples
  • members discussed advice on “partially clad” and difficulties around using a prescriptive definition
  • one member asked for clarity on what is meant by MCM in relation to other metal composite products on the market
  • one member raised the issue of inclusion of the term “over-reliance on fire service intervention” in the advice note
  • members discussed the challenges associated with the enforcement powers available to LAs and the lack of powers available to SFRS
  • members discussed the information provided in the flow chart visual representation of process and suggested improvements without overly complicating the intent of the flow chart

Next steps

The Chair identified next steps as follows:

  • it was indicated to members that a final opportunity for TWG to offer suggestions for useful changes to the amended document. Comments invited by 24 February 2021. Action: Members 
  • final engagement dates with stakeholders likely to be March to April although revised engagement/communications strategy has still to be agreed with Ministers
  • ministerial submission by end February on final round of engagement with stakeholders. Action: BSD
  • date for final publication still to be confirmed and subject to Ministerial approval
  • members were in agreement to meet one final time if required following a final limited round of engagement
  • the Chair indicated that no further meeting date is required at this time and thanked the members for their contribution to the technical working group
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