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Glasgow Tenement Fires

Published on 27/11/2019

2019 has seen Glasgow suffer 3 significant fires in traditional tenement buildings, having a huge impact on the property owners and residents, neighbouring residents, businesses and the wider communities, not to mention the pressure on the emergency services and the local authority.

Each incident (as reported) has had its own dangers and injuries and our thoughts are with all involved, whom we wish a speedy and full recovery, and return to their homes as soon as practically possible.

The 3 fires in 2019 have affected the traditional Glasgow tenement, which not only form a significant proportion of Scottish housing stock, are renowned in Glasgow particularly, and are a key piece of our national heritage and urban environment.

2 of the properties affected suffered major damage, requiring major and lengthy repairs, with the 143 year-old, B-listed building at Albert Drive being the worst affected, with the fire having spread (as reported) from the ground floor throughout the building, destroying the flats above and resulting in the building collapsing.  As documented, fire crews worked through the night to tackle the blaze, with residents being evacuated and one person treated for the effects of smoke inhalation.

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said they had 60 firefighters, nine fire appliances and two height appliances tackling the fire during the night.

“Crews worked through the night to surround and contain the fire which, due to its severity, caused a partial collapse of the building.”

Twenty firefighters remained at the scene for an “extensive dampening down operation”.

This caused, and continues to cause, widespread disruption in the area with road cordons, school closures, power cuts and water supply problems.

Following the building collapse, demolition work has begun on the four-storey tenement building.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who represents the area in the Scottish Parliament, described it as “dreadful news” for affected residents and businesses.

“While the first priority is help for those directly affected, the location of this fire makes it a blow to the whole community.”

Whilst it is important for all property owners and residents to take steps to keep their property safe and limit the risk of fire, it is also property owners responsibility and obligation to ensure suitable insurance cover is in place to deal with the impact of such an incident.

Unfortunately. we understand at least one of these buildings did not have a Common Buildings Insurance Policy, causing, we expect, difficulties and delays for property owners in re-building their property and more importantly, returning to their family homes.

As before, whilst property owners are responsible for ensuring their property is adequately insured at all times, including all common elements of the building in which their flat is situated, we understand that this can, at times, be a complex task, and is better focused by way of a single policy covering the entire building.

This approach is recommended by the insurance industry and property professionals alike, who all agree that residential buildings of this nature, with common areas and multiple owners, are best insured by a common policy, administered through a Property Factor.  More information about this can be viewed here.

There is further information and guidance on the benefits of a common insurance policy available from the Under One Roof website here

The recent Tenements Today, Tenements Tomorrow conference commissioned a film (available here) which addresses this subject, and others relevant to owners of buildings with common areas.

If any of our customers are not aware of their building’s current insurance position, or are concerned about a possible lack of insurance, please contact us and we will be pleased to discuss how we can help ensure your property is insured effectively.

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