Glasgow & West Scotland

'Clarity' on combustible cladding in Glasgow expected by Friday

Glasgow cityscape Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Glasgow City Council has not named the buildings found with combustible cladding

The extent of combustible cladding on high-rise flats in Glasgow should be known by Friday, MSPs have been told.

Last week, it emerged that 57 privately-owned high buildings in the city could have cladding similar to that on Grenfell Tower.

But the Scottish government said Glasgow City's Council's information about the extent and nature of the cladding was "not sufficiently clear".

The local authority is expected to provide "clarity" within days.

Image caption Susan Aitken apologised for alarm caused to residents

Council leader Susan Aitken apologised "unreservedly" for any alarm caused to residents.

She told BBC Scotland: "I apologise on behalf of the council, mistakes were made and information came out in a way that should not have happened.

"We are reasonably sure that we will be able to reassure the vast majority of residents of these buildings, and hopefully all of them, that we don't have any concerns.

"We will get that information to them individually, starting on Friday and over the weekend.

Ms Aitken added: "There is not a Grenfell waiting to happen in Glasgow. There has been no indication that is the case."

Giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament local government committee, Housing Minister Kevin Stewart strongly criticised the council for initially refusing an offer of government help.

"It took the intervention of the council leader to get building standards officers in Glasgow to accept that help. That, to me, is unacceptable."

He added: "Glasgow City Council have a responsibility to residents to progress this work as a matter of urgency."

MSPs on the committee had heard last week from a senior official on the council that a search in the aftermath of the Grenfell fire tragedy had found combustible cladding on some private flats - but the council had not gone public and informed the owners of the buildings.

Image copyright Andrew Cowan
Image caption Housing minister Kevin Stewart has strongly criticised Glasgow City Council over the matter

Raymond Barlow, the assistant head of planning and building standards at Glasgow City Council, said at the time the authority had been waiting to hear from the Scottish government on the issue.

Mr Stewart, however, complained of a "lack of detail" in the information passed from the authority to a ministerial working group set up to probe building and fire safety.

Bill Dodds, head of building standards at the Scottish government, said it was "mainly clarity around the extent of the cladding" they were seeking.

He told the committee: "The majority of the requests for clarity are around the age of the building, the height of the building, the extent of the cladding material and so on.

"It's quite important to clarify, in Grenfell the entire building was overclad with ACM (aluminium composite material), it was a complete enclosure of ACM material, so what we're trying to do is establish whether we have a Grenfell-type arrangement where the building is completely overclad in ACM product or if it is in isolated areas, that's the clarity we're asking.

"That request has gone back almost line by line now, asking for that additional clarity, and we've been given a reassurance we will get that clarity hopefully by the end of next week."

Mr Stewart confirmed he had received an email from the government officials sent into the council this morning "which says they are on track to complete the necessary work by the end of this week".

He said: "I will be keeping a close tab to make sure that work is completed as soon as it possibly can be, because we need to take actions necessary coming from the completed information we receive."

David McGown, assistant chief officer of Scottish Fire and Rescue, said officers had visited 42 of the 57 properties identified by Glasgow City Council and it will have completed its inspections of the remaining 15 within days.

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