Scotland’s building regulations would have saved Grenfell

Today, BBC UK reports the words of Aberdeen-born Housing Secretary for England, Michael Gove:

Flawed government guidance on building standards was partly to blame for the Grenfell Tower fire, Housing Secretary Michael Gove has said.

He believes the system of regulation was “faulty and ambiguous” and not policed properly by the government.

Mr Gove said there was also an “active willingness” on the part of developers to endanger lives for profit.

Despite desperate attempts to piggy-back this tragedy by Scottish opposition politicians and media, Grenfell could not, will not happen here.

Regulars can stop reading here but for more recent followers:

From BBC Glasgow & West today [25/9/22]:

Firefighters have extinguished a blaze which broke out at a tower block in the south side of Glasgow.

Emergency services were alerted to the incident in Shawhill Road, Shawlands, at about 21:00 on Saturday.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service dispatched eight fire engines. Large plumes of smoke were seen coming from windows on the block’s upper floors.

The fire was reported as extinguished after 22:00. It is understood there were no reported casualties.

Why did this fire not spread to other floors and with terrible consequences?

Simple: Cavity Fire Barriers.



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:

Cavity fire barriers prevent this:

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.

They worked in tower block fire in 2021:

a fire in 2021 which was contained within one floor and had no casualties:

According to BBC Scotland:

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.

No towering inferno.

5 thoughts on “Scotland’s building regulations would have saved Grenfell

  1. BBC Scotland would class the building regulations in Scotland as ‘red tape’ and prompt a Tory MSP to give us a rant on why we need bonfire (sic) of regulations and quangos.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. The ‘just red tape’ attitude is at the root of the problem, without that prevailing dogma the Grenfell disaster may never have happened as all the checks and balances would have been in place.

    I read the article and winced at all the weasel words from Gove – He was clearly sent out to do some more arse-covering for the Kensington Tories responsible for this atrocity, and who seem to have pulled strings galore to escape blame and prosecution.


    1. The media are complicit in this in that the use the term ‘red tape’ as if it were a fact and ‘common sense’. They deploy it as an accusation against what they call ‘officialdom’.

      They fail in their task of holding the Tories to account. They do so only when there is no option because some Tories have acknowledged there is a problem.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Just another Westminster scandal. The Tories, (Cameron et al) voted down proposals to improve building regulations. The Tories are landlords.

    No one has been held accountable. They are all passing the buck.

    The Tories have reneged on windrush legislation, Deporting people illegally.


  4. Building regulations ? Rubbish !
    That fine example of a caring , empathetic human being , Jacob Rees Mogg , has stated that if the victims had simply ”shown common sense ” they would have ignored the advice of the Fire Brigade and evacuated the building .

    Dante has declared a special Circle of Hell ( no.8 ) for this man and his ilk –
    ” Barrators ( corrupt politicians ) , hypocrites , false counsellors, panderers …

    Jacob easily meets all the criteria necessary for a prime place .


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