A student halls of residence in Edinburgh is the first building in Scotland confirmed to have the same cladding as London’s Grenfell Tower, where more than 70 people died in an inferno earlier this month.
Napier University has confirmed the cladding has been used on around a quarter of the outside walls at its newly built Bainfield Halls, in the capital’s Fountainbridge area.
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But while the cladding in both buildings is the same, the insulating material – which was found to be the major driver of the Grenfell blaze – is different.
Around 30 students are currently living in the premises, with up to 200 summer school customers expected to take up residency this weekend.
Work to remove the panels has begun and is expected to take around four weeks. But the decision has been made not to evacuate the block.
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A spokesman for the university said non-combustible insulation materials had been fitted behind the wood-effect facings and other fire prevention measures are in place.
“Following the Grenfell Tower fire in London we immediately began a review of all our buildings,” he said.
“Work has already begun to remove and replace the cladding as a precautionary measure, and we are working closely with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service to ensure it is safe to continue to use the building as normal.”
Concerns over materials used on the three-year-old building had been raised in the immediate aftermath of the London fire, according to local councillor Gavin Corbett.
But he said the findings at Bainfield would come as “a great shock” to students and the wider community.
“While the fire service advice appears to be that there is no need to evacuate, if there is even a sliver of doubt I believe the university must offer alternative accommodation for those students directly affected,” he said.
The fire service is carrying out a full audit of the building,.
Edinburgh City Council confirmed the cladding has not been used in council or housing association blocks. However, investigations are being carried out to identify private property that could be at risk.
NUS Scotland has demanded action to ensure all university, college and student accommodation buildings comply with the highest safety standards.