Fire service and residents not told about combustible cladding on private Glasgow flats

Combustible cladding has been found in some private high-rise properties in Glasgow but neither the owners, residents or the fire service have been informed, MSPs have been told.

Glasgow City Council planning official, Raymond Barlow, told MSPs on the Scottish Parliament’s local government and communities committee yesterday that cladding had been found on some buildings in the city, but said “it’s not public information yet”.

Housing minister Kevin Stewart, who is due to give evidence to the committee next week, said the information given was not sufficient enough to have been available to provide enough clarity to ministers, the fire service and any potential residents.

Checks have been under way at buildings across Scotland in the wake of the fatal Grenfell Tower fire in London which killed an estimated 80 people.

Mr Barlow said an initial check on housing association flats in the city had not found any combustible cladding, telling the committee: “Our trawl and our research from then on was very much on private flatted developments, and that information we only managed to complete in the last couple of weeks, and I have passed it over to the ministers.”

Local government committee convener, Bob Doris then asked him: “So, combustible cladding has been found in some private properties?”

The council official responded: “Yes, it’s just not public information yet.”

Mr Doris replied: “It’s now public information because you are telling us.”

Mr Barlow assured that the authority informed the Scottish Government of the discovery but did not disclose how many buildings have the materials. The fire service and flat owners in the buildings had not been informed, he added.

Mr Barlow said: “Then we wish to see what they wish to do with the information before we take it further.”

Committee convener Bob Doris stressed that the buildings may well be “absolutely safe”, but said residents “deserve answers”.

Following the committee meeting, Doris said: “It was deeply concerning to hear a Glasgow City Council official say that combustible cladding has been found in private high rise homes.

“People who are currently living in private high rises and who listened to this today will of course be worried about their safety in their homes.

“We don’t want this to cause undue alarm, as these buildings may well be safe, but people who live in these homes deserve answers.

“That’s why we’ve asked Glasgow City Council and the Scottish Government to urgently provide us with more information on the extent of this issue and we will put these concerns to the minister when he appears next week.”

Housing minister Kevin Stewart said: “The information presented to the Ministerial Working Group on the 8 September did not detail how many private high rise domestic properties may have ACM or whether the material was combustible cladding of the same type as used on Grenfell. The overall detail of information was insufficient for the Chief Building Standards Officer, and therefore Glasgow City Council was asked to provide further information and we are waiting for them to provide clarification.

“We asked all local authorities for the same information but appreciate that for large cities, more work has been required to gather information. That is why the Scottish Government has offered assistance and support to Glasgow City Council to enable them to retrieve all the information we asked for. That offer remains open if they require assistance to provide clarity to ministers, the fire service and any potential residents. We would expect Glasgow City Council, as the body responsible for verification and enforcement of building standards, to inform building owners of their findings and ensuring that once additional checks have taken place if any unsafe material is found, it is removed.”

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