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Ministerial Working Group on Building and Fire Safety

Fourth meeting held.

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The fourth meeting of the Ministerial Working Group on Building and Fire Safety has taken place, chaired by Communities Secretary Angela Constance and involving Housing Minister Kevin Stewart, Health Secretary Shona Robison, Scottish Government officials and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.

This group is overseeing a review of building and fire safety regulatory frameworks, with an initial focus on high-rise domestic buildings, following the tragic Grenfell Tower fire in London.

As part of the work programme taken forward by the group, there was a detailed discussion around the latest evidence on automatic fire suppression systems, with agreement reached that further research will be carried out to evaluate specific risks in high-rise domestic buildings, consider the most vulnerable groups, and recognise advances in technology. The first aspect of this work will be to commission a detailed inventory of design features of all high domestic buildings in Scotland to provide an evidence base to assist future work in this area being considered by the building standards working group.

The group was also updated on the latest actions being taken by the Scottish Government, local authorities, the NHS, the fire and rescue service as well as other building owners across the country, including continued progress made by the fire and rescue service in carrying out fire safety visits. 

Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities Angela Constance said:

“The group met again to continue our thorough review of our regulations and take any action needed. Our work programme remains evidence-led to ensure the highest standards of building and fire safety is in place across Scotland.

“We had a very detailed discussion on automatic fire suppression systems, including sprinklers, and I have commissioned a detailed inventory of the high-rise domestic building stock in Scotland to ensure we have as clear a picture as possible of ways in which to improve fire safety for residents.

“While we remain confident that we have stringent building and fire safety regulations, we cannot afford to be in any way complacent. That is why detailed and robust checks continue across Scotland to assess buildings. Where further investigation is needed, it will be carried out to reassure people that adequate fire protection measures are in place. 

“I’d like to again give my thanks to all local authorities, the fire and rescue service, NHS Scotland, housing associations and numerous other building owners across Scotland who are continuing to work extremely hard at the moment to carry out these checks and provide that reassurance to the public.

“We’ll continue this partnership to ensure collectively we are doing our utmost to reassure members of the public of the safety of Scotland’s buildings.”

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