April 23, 2024
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By Tristan Stewart-Robertson

As a precaution, Helensburgh fire station officials confirmed the use of ‘temporary support’ to hold up certain parts of roof.

The building – as well 13 others across Scotland – was constructed using reinforced autoclaved aerated Concrete (RAAC), according to fire chiefs.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service stated that the best thing to do is rebuild these stations.

However, they claim that they lack the funds to pay for it.

RAAC came to the attention of the public last week when more than 100 England schools were closed due to the dangers posed by this material. This was used between 1950-1990 in many public buildings.

There is an urgent need to identify which buildings are affected and to take the necessary steps to make sure they remain safe.

Read More: Argyll and Bute Council confirms Helensburgh primary is RAAC concrete

Argyll &Bute Council confirmed to The Herald on Monday, that John Logie Baird School in Helensburgh had “mitigation’ measures in place due to RAAC.

Iain Morris SFRS acting director of Asset Management said: “The Safety of Our Staff is Priority and Immediate Action was Taken as Soon as Defects to the Roof Construction were Identified in 14 Of Our Sites in 2019.

“We’ve put temporary supports in place to reinforce roofing areas and maintained our operations from those locations. We will continue monitoring these measures.

The safest, most economical and best solution in most situations is to rebuild.

The service does not, however, have enough capital to rebuild the locations in question or to meet our ongoing capital backlog for maintaining or upgrading the estate.

Jackie Baillie is the MSP of Helensburgh and Lomond. She has called upon the Scottish Government in the past to develop an urgent plan for refurbishing the fire estate throughout the nation, including Helensburgh.

According to her, 220 of the stations have poor or very bad conditions. In addition, over 150 are without shower facilities.

One in eleven people lack access to water.

Helensburgh’s fire station, built with RAAC and flat-roofed, was identified to need urgent maintenance. It is estimated that the cost will be PS7 million.

Ms Baillie commented: “It’s extremely concerning that England schools were forced to close so quickly.

Helensburgh’s fire station is one of many Scottish buildings that have the same substance.

“The SNP needs to act quickly and confidently. They need to give concrete assurances that all buildings with confirmed RAAC will be safe. And if not, they must take action to ensure alternative accommodations are available.

It is impossible to replicate the type of chaos that has been seen in England, particularly when it comes to our emergency fire service.

This could impact both the staff and wider community’s safety if not handled properly.

This week, the First Minister Humza Yusaf said to PA that it would take’some months’ for a review of concrete that is prone collapse. However, he added that measures will be taken where necessary.

“It is important to conduct a desk review. But it’s fair to say, if sites think a physical examination would be necessary, there will also be one.

The size of this estate will require some time to fully complete.

“But it isn’t a binary.

The local authorities informed us of around 35 schools with RAAC and have implemented mitigations to guarantee that neither the children nor the employees are at immediate risk.

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