SNP fails to change fire safety tests criticised by Grenfell experts

The SNP government has retained a “flawed” fire safety test for buildings which was criticised by experts to the Grenfell Inquiry.

New laws come into force today following amendments to the Scottish Building Standards Technical Handbooks.

However, the Scottish Government has retained a test which allows combustible materials on the outside of high-rise and high-risk buildings, despite the same materials being banned in England and Wales.

The BS 8414 system was criticised by both the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and other witnesses to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, who said it wasn’t “relevant” to new buildings.

The European Commission has also rejected the test.

Scottish Conservative housing spokesman Graham Simpson said:

“I welcome a number of the steps taken by the Scottish Government on fire safety, including additional requirements for escape routes and sprinklers.

“However, I am deeply concerned and disappointed that the Scottish Government has confirmed it will retain BS 8414 as an option for compliance.

“The retention of this flawed testing route undermines these positive steps by continuing to permit combustible materials on to our buildings in Scotland.

“The simple solution is to join England and Wales and simply ban the products from being used on these buildings.

“People have the right to expect that the buildings they live and work in are safe.

“In light of the mounting expert criticism, there is serious doubt as to whether this test is robust enough to reflect real-life conditions.

“A safer alternative exists, and that’s one we should be following.”



Notes to editors:

At the Grenfell Inquiry on November 22, 2018, chartered fire engineer Dr Barbara Lane said: “I don’t take anything from those tests because I don’t consider them to be relevant because they are so far away from the kind of construction detailing that people like me have to deal with in our profession.”