HUNDREDS of households in Glasgow are to be informed their high-rise flats have cladding similar to that on Grenfell Tower.

City officials are expected to finally start the task of telling homeowners and business owners within dozens of privately owned multi-storey properties affected after the Scottish Government urged that the process begin.

Concerns came to light when Raymond Barlow, the assistant head of planning and building standards at Glasgow City Council told a Holyrood committee that combustible cladding had been found on private flats and that the authority had not informed the owners or the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. He said it was "not public information yet".

"So combustible cladding has been found in some private properties?" Source: Scottish Parliament TV

MSPs and ministers have been conducting inquiries into fire safety and building and planning standards in Scotland in the aftermath of the Grenfell fire, which killed an estimated 80 people.

City officials have now given the first indication of the numbers of homes affected as they confirmed they know of 57 high-rise blocks across Glasgow which had "some element" of ACM (aluminium composite material) in their construction, a dozen of which have it as a "substantial part of their make-up". Officials estimate the number of Glasgow households affected are in the "low hundreds".

Glasgow City Council began its discovery of affected properties at the end of June, when it was asked by ministers to carry out a search of 14,000 building warrants of housing blocks over 18 metres high by the Scottish Government's ministerial working group on building and fire safety. The local authority reported its findings to the group privately nearly two weeks ago, but homeowners were not told.

Mr Barlow admitted that if they were not reporting to the the ministerial working group, the council would have proactively notified the factors of the properties.

Tory MSP Graham Simpson was among those who questioned why owners of the properties had not been informed, telling Mr Barlow: "Don't you think Glasgow City Council has a responsibility to the citizens of Glasgow, rather than a ministerial working group, if you have discovered this information?"


A city council spokesman said it was felt it was not their role to contact householders in the first instance.

"At the beginning of the process there was nothing to say to us that if we identify ACM we should be out there telling people about it. It was to report back to the ministerial working group," he said.

"Once we completed the process we would have been happy to disclose the information.

"In the meantime the Scottish Parliament called an officer [Mr Barlow] and it was through that that the information was disclosed. "The way it has come out, I don't think would have been our preference, but it is out there now and are trying to provide as much reassurance as we can."

Raymond Barlow: "We are supplying the information to the Scottish ministers and then we wish to see what they want to do with the information before we take it further."   Source: Scottish Parliament TV

The council indicated it would start the process of informing owners after Mr Stewart said he would have expected the council to inform building owners of their findings and ensure that once additional checks have taken place if any unsafe material is found, it is removed.

The spokesman added: "I have seen that the Scottish Government have asked us to contact the owners of the properties and that is something we will be looking to progress, I'm sure."

All properties detected were built before 2005 when Building Regulation 135 was introduced to ensure the whole cladding system is overall non-combustible.

But the council spokesman said that there was "nothing to suggest" there is a fire risk to the buildings and had fire systems in place without any subsequent issues. "If there was a concern about those buildings we would use the powers that we have through building control to intervene and make sure the buildings were made safe. We have not had to do that," said the spokesman.

"Has the Scottish fire service been in to see each individual property as a matter of priority?"  Source: Scottish Parliament TV

"Although we understand why people would be concerned, we are asking people to remain calm. That's very important given that we are certainly not identifying any particular fire risk around the buildings.

"We are asking people to try and put it into perspective, that clearly there has been a dreadful incident in London, there's not getting away from that but there are particular circumstances around that.

"ACM if used appropriately is a perfectly safe building material."

And he added: "We haven't hidden it. Building warrants are publicly available documents. Anyone can come along and request to see them.

Mr Barlow said that from information provided by social landlords he was content none of their properties contained combustible material or cladding associated with Grenfell. He said the landlords were told: "You know your buildings better than us."

Video: In terms of social landlords within the city of Glasgow, are you content that none of the combustible material or cladding models such as in Grenfell exist?  Source: Scottish Parliament TV

Sean Clerkin of the Scottish Tenants Organisation said tenants would be "very concerned" and will need reassurance over the safety of their homes in the light of the latest developments.

"We have been demanding and are continuing to demand is that every single high-rise building [and in particular any cladding] is fire tested," he says.

Liberal Democrat justice spokesman Liam McArthur demanded a statement from ministers in light of the "astonishing revelation" and and asked what was being done to keep people safe.

But Mr Stewart said: "The information presented to the ministerial working group on September 8 did not detail how many private high rise domestic properties may have ACM or whether the material was combustible cladding of the same type as used on Grenfell.

"The overall detail of information was insufficient for the Chief Building Standards Officer, and therefore Glasgow City Council was asked to provide further information and we are waiting for them to provide clarification."

It is understood that 31 local authorities have completed building warrant checks on privately owned high-rise domestic buildings and confirmed they did not find any ACM in their cladding system designs.