Safety checks carried out on university building cladding

Remedial work is to be carried out at Bainfield Halls
Image caption Remedial work is to be carried out at Bainfield Halls in Edinburgh

Safety checks are being carried out on university buildings across Scotland following the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Universities Scotland said its members were checking to ensure that cladding used on the buildings met the "highest standards of fire safety".

It follows the discovery that a student halls of residence in Edinburgh had the same cladding as the London high rise.

A total of 80 people are feared to have died in the blaze in Kensington on 14 June.

In a survey of universities and colleges north of the border by BBC Scotland, several confirmed that checks were being undertaken.

A spokesperson for Universities Scotland added: "Universities across Scotland are working to reassess the over-cladding of their building facades to ensure they meet the highest standards of fire safety.

"Universities will be in close contact with the Scottish government, the relevant authorities and the network of university estates directors across the country to share best practice throughout this process."

Shona Struthers, the chief executive of Colleges Scotland said: "In light of the Grenfell tragedy, colleges are urgently carrying out a review of all buildings, including materials used and construction, as well as undertaking relevant safety checks and reviewing their general fire safety procedures.

"The sector is working closely with the Scottish Funding Council, who are taking this forward on behalf of the Scottish government, to assess all college estates and ensure a co-ordinated approach. Any action that is required will be taken."

Hospital buildings in Glasgow have also been subject to safety checks in the wake of the Grenfell blaze.

A spokesman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said it began reviewing its facilities "immediately" after the tragedy.

But he added: "No cladding has been sent for sampling as buildings are designed and constructed in line with Scottish Building Regulations."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Around 80 people are feared dead following the fire at Grenfell Tower in London

On Tuesday it emerged that cladding similar to that used on the Grenfell tower block was found on Edinburgh Napier University's Bainfield Halls.

The Universities Scotland spokesperson said the university was taking "swift action" to ensure the safety of its residents.

The spokesman added: "Importantly, a number of additional fire safety features are in place at Bainfield. The university is taking a number of steps to reassure residents and the community of their safety."

A number of other higher and further education institutions are also carrying out checks on their estate.

  • University of Glasgow: Checks have been carried out on buildings, in particular the re-cladding of university library. They were confirmed to have a "non-combustible" fire rating and are "very different" from those used in Grenfell Tower.
  • University of the West of Scotland: A review of buildings on all its campuses is ongoing and to date has not identified any panels like those which were part of the Grenfell Tower.
  • University of Strathclyde: Checks were carried out on university buildings immediately after Grenfell and they found no cause for concern.
  • Glasgow Caledonian University: Cladding on buildings was found to be fire resistant, with no flammable insulation.
  • Glasgow Clyde College: An "extensive review" found that no buildings on its three campuses have the cladding used on the Grenfell Tower.
  • Glasgow Kelvin College: The cladding on one building is being checked but there is "no reason to suspect any issues will arise".
  • Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh: "Detailed surveys" of buildings at campuses are being undertaken, and staff and students will be updated with results.
  • University of Edinburgh: The university has received assurances from its in-house team of the "high levels of fire safety precautions" across its estate and student residential accommodation.
  • Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh: All buildings are "medium rise" and do not use cladding. There are no concerns about occupant safety but inspections will be carried out on insulation infill panels "for further reassurance".
  • Edinburgh College: In the process of checking cladding and have no cause for concern. They are bringing in an external consultant to ensure build documentation reviewed is accurate.
  • University of Aberdeen: A review of cladding is almost complete and they have found nothing that raises "cause for concern".
  • Robert Gordon University: Student accommodation does not have the same cladding as that which was on the Grenfell Tower. A review of teaching and office buildings has been instructed as a "matter of priority".
  • North East Scotland College: Manufacturers have given assurances about cladding on the Aberdeen city campus. But they have also commissioned an independent review of the cladding project which is due to give an interim update next week.
  • Dundee University: In the process of assessing all buildings.
  • Abertay University: An initial review has been carried out and it found that none of the university's properties have been affected by any issues raised by the Grenfell tragedy. It will continue to monitor the developing situation and it will review and take action as necessary.
  • University of Stirling: A review found that any cladding is different from that used at Grenfell. A fire service inspection found that relevant fire safety measures were in place.
  • University of the Highlands and Islands: None of the university buildings or student residences have composite aluminium cladding, like Grenfell.

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