Mackintosh Building fire suppression system ‘weeks away from installation’

A fire suppression system at the Glasgow School of Art was only weeks away from being activated when fire tore through the Mackintosh Building earlier this month, according to a trade body.

The British Automatic Fire Sprinkler Association said huge pumps needed for the water mist system had arrived at the city centre site the day before the fire but would have taken “a few weeks” to test and install.

Keith MacGillivray, chief executive of the trade body, told BBC Scotland: “The pumps for the fire suppression system were there at the school of art the day before the fire.

“They are very large pumps so they were delivered in component parts.

“It would have taken some weeks to reassemble the pumps and connect up the pipe work and obviously the water tanks would have had to be connected and put in place as well.

“Everything would also would have had to be tested thoroughly before being made operational.”

Kier Construction Scotland, the firm in charge of restoring the historic building following a fire in 2014, has said fire alarms and monitoring systems were in place along with 24-hour patrols of the site.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service handed the site over to Glasgow City Council on Tuesday evening. The team from GCC Building Control working with The Glasgow School of Art, structural engineers David Narro Associates, and Historic Environment Scotland are continuing their work to assess the structural integrity of the building.

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