Cladding at UHI buildings to be reviewed after Grenfell tragedy

Inverness College UHI
Inverness College UHI

Several north college buildings are to be reviewed for fire safety after the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

Lews Castle College UHI in Stornoway said it is awaiting assurance about fire safety from manufacturers of aluminium cladding on two of its buildings.

Materials used in the Inverness College UHI building and the Scottish School of Forestry at Balloch will be assessed as a “precaution”.

And the structural design and associated fire safety systems at the various North Highland College UHI buildings will also be reviewed.

The review follows in the aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy and concerns about whether the building’s aluminium composite cladding contributed to the fire spreading.

Lews Castle College confirmed two of its buildings are partly clad with insulated aluminium panels.

They have been in contact with their makers to establish flammability ratings and compliance with building regulations and are awaiting a response.

A spokesman for the college said that “its building’s have been properly designed with fire departure points and built with social space in the middle and no fire exit issues”.

The flagship Inverness College UHI building was completed in 2015, while the Scottish School of Forestry’s new building formally opened in early 2016.

A spokeswoman for the college said it has requested a report on the materials used during construction as a “precaution”.

She added: “Our building is fully compliant with current fire safety regulations and we have stringent and well-rehearsed policies in place to ensure our staff and students are safe.

“However, in light of the recent tragic incident, it is only right that we exercise due diligence by seeking assurances from our contractor on the materials used in our buildings.”

North Highland College UHI operate from a main building in Thurso and also run courses from sites at Halkirk, Dornoch and Alness.

A spokeswoman said: “North Highland College UHI has no record of the type of cladding in question being applied on any of its buildings.

“However, in light of the recent tragic events in London, we are currently reviewing the structural designs and the associated fire safety systems and integrity for all buildings across our campuses”

Shetland College UHI said they do have cladding on their Gremista campus buildings – but said they pass all fire safety requirements.

The colleges are overseen by parent body the University of the Highlands and Islands which said none of its buildings, including student halls, have composite aluminium cladding.

The remainder of the UHI colleges confirmed none of their buildings have any cladding.