Scottish Government’s response to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 Report

Fire Safety in High Rise Domestic Buildings

Extract from Scottish Government communication 29th October 2020:

Scottish Government Ministers’ thoughts remain with the family and friends of the 72 people who lost their lives, and to all who have been impacted by the Grenfell tragedy.

As you may be aware, in October 2019 the Grenfell Tower Inquiry published its report on conclusion of Phase 1 concerning events on the night of the fire, which made 46 recommendations mainly concerning high rise domestic buildings.  While the Inquiry concerned the position in England, we are writing to inform you that the Scottish Government has considered the recommendations made and a response to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry Phase 1 report has been published:

I would be very grateful if you could please  pass it on to any colleagues with responsibility for high rise domestic buildings, fire safety or other interest in this area.

This is part of the programme of work to strengthen fire safety in Scotland, led by the Scottish Government Ministerial Working Group on Building and Fire Safety that was established immediately after the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017. The Scottish Government will continue to monitor and evaluate the approach to fire safety, and will implement any further changes as appropriate.

It is encouraging to read these sections from the above…

Fire Safety in High Rise Domestic Buildings in Scotland
23. In Scotland, most fires in high rise domestic buildings are contained in the flat where the fire originated, and often to the room of origin. There have been no deaths outside the flat of origin in the past decade in Scotland.

High Rise Fire Safety – Position and Recent Actions in Scotland
29. The Scottish Government Review of the Fire Safety Regime for high rise domestic buildings in Scotland (2018) concluded that there were no major legislative gaps, although the position with buildings with multiple owners and the issue of fire safety enforcement is to be further considered over the longer-term.

58. The evidence available points to sound fire safety measures in place, however there is a commitment to continue and strengthen this by pro-actively seeking to learn to improve fire safety, to continue to reduce fires and their impact.

However this obviously relies on all projects being designed and constructed fully in accordance with current Scottish building standards and regulations (and then properly managed in-use). So as always, but particularly now in terms of fire safety matters, Clients, Designers and Contractors should not be relying on Building Control officers to spot non-compliant items in the design or construction, but ensuring what is designed and constructed is compliant.