Glasgow art school blaze destroys two years of restoration after last fire

All work undertaken by UK contractor Kier at the Glasgow School of Art since 2016 as part of its £35m restoration project is likely to have been destroyed in an "exceptionally significant" fire on Friday, reports Construction Manager.

Kier Construction Scotland was contracted to do the work in 2016 after a fire damaged the Mackintosh building in Renfrew Street in 2014.

The latest blaze broke out on Friday evening (15 June). At its height, 20 fire appliances and 120 firefighters were engaged in tackling it.

The contractor was expected to complete the restoration work in early 2019.

Scotland Fire and Rescue Service’s deputy assistant chief officer Peter Heath told the BBC: "Regrettably the building has been extensively damaged. The engineers will get in once we have finished but I would need to advise people that the damage to this building is exceptionally significant. It has affected all parts of the building."

Kier’s work was being undertaken in two phases, with the first phase involving the reinstatement of the roof and replacement and repair of fire-damaged stonework.

The second phase involved restoring the west wind and upgrading the east wing interior of the school.

Meanwhile Miles Glendinning, a professor of architectural conservation, raised the prospect that BIM could play a role in the building’s reconstruction.

Quoted in newspaper The Telegraph, he said that the building "still exists digitally" and that the only barriers to rebuilding it were time and money.

Muriel Gray, chair of the board of governors, at the Glasgow School of Art said: "It is an understatement to say everyone is utterly devastated but as usual the GSA Executive Team, staff and students, have been outstanding, positive and supportive.

"We now have a difficult waiting game until Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Glasgow City Council and associated agencies have completed their investigations into the condition of the building.

"We remain hopeful of as positive an outcome as possible because it is clear that the love for the Mackintosh and recognition of its importance to Glasgow and the wider world is shared by absolutely everyone."

Image: Aerial footage from a Police Scotland helicopter shows the extent fire damage at Glasgow Art School (Police Scotland)

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  1. Insurance. The bond. And forethought. I had a similar fire, scaffold boards fuelled the outside spread like Grenfell cladding. First during rebuild get internal sprinklers working. Externally I’ve painted intumescent on the boards and laced the scaffold in blue waterpipe risers spurs and taps.

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