High-rise cladding is safe, insists Fife Council

High-rise cladding is safe, insists Fife Council

Cllr Judy Hamilton

Fife Council has reassured its tenants that cladding on its high-rise buildings is safe after an investigation found that some buildings do not meet the recommendations of Scottish Government fire safety experts.

A working group appointed by the government in the wake of the Grenfell tragedy in June last year recommended the British equivalent of the European safety class A2 or better for high-rise cladding.

But an investigation by The Courier found the external wall insulation used for some tower blocks in the Kingdom met class B rating.

According to the newspaper, the combustible B-class phenolic board cladding is in place at Swan and Memorial Courts in Methil.

Fife Council’s head of housing, John Mills, said all cladding systems met current building standards and were either fire retardant or fire resistant.

Mr Mills said: “We will never forget the Grenfell tower fire and the lives lost in that tragic event. Here in Fife we’ve been working with our tenants to reassure them that they are safe in their homes and backed that up with rigorous testing and inspections to underline the safety of the materials used to clad our buildings.

“Our buildings are safe and meet current Building Standards requirements in Scotland.  However we are not complacent in relation to the need for effective fire safety and we are working to enhance standards beyond the current building standards requirements.

“We’ve visited all of our tenants and residents to offer face to face advice and discussions about any concerns and it’s been heartening to hear that people are reassured.”

The response comes as councillors discussed a report on the actions taken in Fife since the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

A Tower Block Review Group involving Scottish Fire and Rescue Service has been working since the tragedy to enhance the safety of Fife’s tower blocks with £1.5 million committed for new doors, signs, and improvements to ventilation.

And according to Angela Johnston, tenant at Ravenscraig multi-storey flats in Kirkcaldy and chairperson of Ravenscraig Residents Association, the council has dealt with any fire safety concerns from residents “very efficiently” and stated she “feels very safe” in her home.

The council is also planning to consult tenants next month on how caretaker support in mulit-storey flats can be improved.

Chair of the council’s community and housing services committee, Cllr Judy Hamilton, added: “The UK Public Inquiry is continuing to hear evidence and statements from a number of individuals and organisations involved with Grenfell and we will take any action necessary when those findings are made public.

“In the meantime we are committed to ensuring the highest standards in our multi-storey flats and the best living environment for our tenants and residents.”

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