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Legal threat over Mackintosh building fire

23 August 2018 | By Neil Gerrard

Residents who live close to the site of the Glasgow School of Art's Mackintosh building, which was hit by fire earlier this year, are mulling legal action against the local council, the client and contractor Kier.

The residents of Garnethill and local Sauciehall Street businesses claim they have been locked out of their homes and businesses for almost ten weeks.

They argue that while Glasgow School of Art and Kier were "ultimately responsible" for the fire, Glasgow City Council are responsible for risk assessment, the cordon, and building control management.

Mike Dailly, solicitor advocate at Govan Law Centre, which is working to identify public interest litigation against the three organisations, said: "Thirty-three households are displaced from their homes in Garnethill. Fifty-five Sauchiehall Street businesses – with 350 jobs – are under serious threat of going bust. All of these people are the lifeblood of the local community and they have been treated as an afterthought by Glasgow City Council.

Kier said issues relating to the cordon were a matter for Glasgow City Council and declined to comment. 

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “The council has acted under Section 29 of the Building (Scotland) Act 2003 in order to protect life.  Our priority remains getting residents and businesses back to their properties safely.  We hope to reduce the cordon by enough to allow a substantial number of residents and businesses to return on Saturday.”

Last week, the Glasgow School of Art announced that the east gable of the Mackintosh Building was within two weeks of stabilisation. Scaffolding contractor SGB has been working seven days a week to install shoring scaffolding to make the Dalhousie Street end of the building safe.

Earlier this month, demolition contractor Reigart was also on site seven days a week with cranes and two mobile elevated working platforms (MEWPs) to managing dismantling of dangerous sections of the building.

“The shoring scaffolding on Dalhousie Street, which is the critical part of the work to make the east gable safe, is on schedule for completion in the next two weeks,” says Professor Tom Inns, director of The Glasgow School of Art.  “After this we hope very much that Glasgow City Council Building Control will reduce the size of the security cordon.”

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