Ventilation ducts from first Glasgow School of Art fire still open during second fire

Written by Jenni Davidson on 26 October 2018 in News

The ducts allowed the spread of fire through the Charles Rennie Mackintosh building in 2014

Detail from Glasgow School of Art - Image credit: Le Kizz via Flickr

Ventilation ducts that allowed the spread of the first fire at Glasgow School of Art in 2014 were still open at the time of the second fire this year, MSPs on Holyrood’s culture committee have been told.

The ducts which run through the historic building allowed the fire in May 2014 to spread after a student artwork caught alight in the basement.

Due to the fire risk, these ducts were meant to be sealed up during the £35m restoration of the building.

However, MSPs were told that the ducts had not yet been sealed at the time of the second fire, in June 2018, which largely destroyed the Charles Rennie Mackintosh building because they were being used to run cables and pipes through the building.

Giving evidence to the committee, architect David Paton, from Page/Park Architects, said: “It wasn’t done at that stage because these ducts were going to be used for the routing for all the services. And then at the end of the process they were going to be fire-stopped.”

Brain McQuade, managing director of the construction company, Kier, added that it was “part of the process that they had to be open”.

Committee chair Joan McAlpine said it would shock people to find that the ducts were not fire-stopped during the restoration, given the role they played in the previous fire.

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