Hundreds saved in Glasgow tower block fire after tougher regulations prevent another Grenfell

According to BBC Scotland earlier today:

Residents of a multi-storey block of flats in Glasgow had to be evacuated after a fire broke out on the 17th floor. Fire crews were called to the block on Lincoln Avenue in the Knightswood area of the city at 04:08. Residents were safely removed from the building by the fire service and there were no casualties. A total of nine fire appliances attended the incident which took about five hours to bring under full control. A spokeswoman for Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “Operations control mobilised nine appliances to Lincoln Avenue where the fire was affecting the 17th floor of the multi-storey block of flats.” The spokeswoman said residents from the 17th and 18th floors were removed and the fire has been extinguished.

Onlookers wondered why the fire did not spread to other floors. Here are some reasons we posted last year:

The Chimney Effect

This cannot happen in Scotland

As I understand it, it is not so much the flammability of the material used as the construction of the external cladding to deny the spread of fire via a chimney effect.

Reader Gordon Darge wrote for us in January 2020:

As a chartered architect in Scotland for 40 years I can confirm that the Building Regulations Technical Standards Scotland have for two decades required cavity fire barriers

2.4 Cavities
Mandatory Standard
Standard 2.4
Every building must be designed and constructed in such a way that in the event of an outbreak of fire within the building, the spread of fire and smoke within cavities in its structure and fabric is inhibited.

This includes for example, around the head, jambs and sill of an external door or window opening, at all floor levels and building corners etc. to prevent the spread of fire in building cavities. This would have prevented the spread of the fire at Grenfell Tower.

This is difficult and expensive to achieve and I can only guess that in England they did not follow the Scottish model because Westminster and the Tories were led by the vested interests of big business, property developers and large construction firms.

For anyone wanting more info see:

https://www.gov.scot/publications/building-standards-technical-handbook-2019-domestic/2-fire/2-4-cavities/

And in December 2019, we were able to report:

In a parliamentary question at Holyrood on Monday, David Stewart (Highlands and Islands) (Scottish Labour) asked the Scottish Government what plans it has to ban combustible materials on the outside of high-rise or high-risk buildings.

The answer was reassuring contrast to the lack of comparable action in England:

From 1 May 2005, Scottish building regulations have required cladding on domestic buildings with any storey over 18 metres to be non-combustible or to pass a large-scale fire test (BS 8414 and BR 135).

The Scottish Government have just completed a review of building regulations. Advice from the national and international panel of experts was that there was no need to change mandatory standard 2.7 that requires fire spread on the external walls of a building to be inhibited. Guidance that came into force on 1 October embraces a range of measures to improve fire safety which will make Scotland’s high-rise buildings even safer. These include:

• Further restricting the use of combustible materials on taller buildings, applying provisions that previously applied to buildings over 18 metres to all buildings over 11 metres to align with fire-fighting from the ground;

• Tighter controls over the combustibility of cladding systems on hospitals, residential care buildings, entertainment and assembly buildings regardless of building height;

• Introducing evacuation sound alerts, floor and dwelling indicator signs and two escape stairs in all new high-rise domestic buildings.

We have also made a commitment to introduce a mandatory requirement to install sprinkler systems in all new build flats, certain multi-occupancy dwellings and social housing from 2021.

And before that:

  1. From the Scottish Government news website in February 2019:

‘New rules to reduce deaths in household fires have been announced today, with improved standards introduced for fire and smoke alarms in Scottish homes.  The improved standards will mean every home in the country must have a smoke alarm fitted in the living room or lounge, and in circulation spaces such as hallways and landings. The changes also mean every kitchen must have a heat alarm, and the alarms will have to be interlinked so they can be heard throughout the property. There must also be a carbon monoxide alarm where there are fixed combustion appliances. The new rules mean the standard which currently applies to private rented property and newbuilds is being extended to all homes in Scotland. The regulations come after a consultation carried out following the tragic events at Grenfell Tower in London in June 2017.’

https://news.gov.scot/news/new-fire-safety-standards-for-scottish-homes

  1. From BBC UK News in December 2018:

‘Fire safety checks across England have fallen by 42% over the last seven years, according to the new watchdog for fire and rescue services. HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, Fire and Rescue Services says brigades do a good job in emergencies, but amid cuts have reduced “vital” prevention work. The watchdog said the number of audits carried out by firefighters dropped from 84,575 in 2010-11 to 49,423 in 2017-18.’https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-46627987?ns_mchannel=social&ocid=socialflow_twitter&ns_source=twitter&ns_campaign=bbcnews

  1. From the Scottish Government, published in August 2018:

‘The number of fire safety audits carried out in 2015/16 was 9,829. Most of the premises audited by the SFRS have relatively adequate fire safety measures and are categorised as ‘broadly compliant’ (9,180 audits: 93%). While 79% (7,779 audits) of the premises audited have average or low levels of relative risk.’

In Scotland 2015/16, 9 827 safety audits were carried out. England has 10 times the population and so, all things being equal, might have been expected to have seen 98 270 fire safety audits. However, in 2017/18, England saw only 49 423 fire safety audits, just over half the number. Fire safety audits in Scotland are thus almost twice as common, per head of population, in Scotland as in England.

Why? Cost-cutting Tory local authorities? Cost-cutting Tory central government?

  1. Two earlier reports perhaps still of interest here:

‘Stricter [fire] safety rules leave Scotland out of danger’ The English media spot the difference. Did BBC Scotland?

‘High rise fires in Scotland at lowest level in eight years

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8 thoughts on “Hundreds saved in Glasgow tower block fire after tougher regulations prevent another Grenfell

  1. LETS WAIT TO SEE IF ALL THOSE CONSCIENTIOUS HACKS WORKING FOR SO CALLED SCOTTISH RAGS
    GETS THESE “FACTS”. ON THEIR FRONT PAGE ENGLISH PAPERS

    THESE ENGLISH COUNCILS WHO BUILT OR REFABRICATED
    THEIR TOWER BLOKES SHOULD HOLD THEIR HEADS IN SHAME

    HOW MANY PEOPLE DIED IN GRENFELL
    AND HOW MUCH MONEY DID GRENFEL COUNCIL CREAM OFF

    Like

  2. Really good that no one was hurt. Well done to all involved in ensuring the safety of the residents. Let’s see how the media report this, will they conjure another SNP bad story out of it anyway.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Point 2 is the most glaring and dangerous divergence in England, almost always down to political obsession with “cutting red tape” and costs.

    No designer or contractor should be able to self-certify their own work as compliant, particularly when it comes to fire safety at either the design or construction stage. There is always something you might have missed but fresh eyes see, that’s why cross-checking and review at every phase is crucial.

    Who was the Mayor who decimated LFB manpower ? Did that have any part to play in the Grenfell tragedy, such as LFB finding the fire main unusable on arrival ?
    And yet he was made PM…

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The well equipped Fire Service putting out fires successfully is so important. The conflicts in management elsewhere.

    The Westminster Condem Gov refused to implement a stronger Building regulations Bill. Cameron et al. The local authorities in the south did not implement the correct procedures. Most Tory MP’s are (rogue) landlords, property and landowners. The Tory Party is illegally financed by them Total corruption and dereliction of duty of care. In every way shape or form. Biased decisions.

    The Tory/unionist corruption leading to increased death. Life expectancy going down in the South. Total corruption. The Tory Party on the make and on the take. It is absolutely disgusting.

    The UK the most unequal place in the world. Laws and justice totally flouted. By Westminster criminals. They make the Laws and break the Laws with impunity. Vote SNP or otherwise for Independence. Vote to stop them. Hold them to account for any justice. It can and must be done for any equality and decency. Instead of lies, greed and corruption. Westminster corruption. Brexit will lead to more unnecessary death. The Tory corruption. Lies and spin no longer getting the votes in.

    Liked by 1 person

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