Work to demolish parts of Glasgow School of Art’s Mackintosh Building will begin in the next few days over fears the building will collapse, having sustained heavy damage in a fire earlier this month.
Glasgow City Council confirmed today that surveys of the building found substantial movement in the walls, meaning a “sudden collapse of the building was likely”.
Planning work has already begun on how to dismantle parts of the building, with the council pledging to start work “as soon as possible”.
The fire, which started late on Friday 15 June, caused extensive damage to the listed building and several nearby properties.
It was the second major blaze at the site in four years after a fire in May 2014 also caused severe damage.
The council has said parts of the building now need to be demolished as a matter of urgency after significant deterioration since the blaze.
Glasgow City Council head of building control Raymond Barlow said: “This building has undergone substantial stress in recent days. With each passing day a sudden collapse becomes more likely.
“It has become urgent that we take down the south facade. As the process begins it will be likely that the other walls will also need to be reduced.”
It is expected to take two days to decide on the methodology of how to take down the Mackintosh Building’s south facade – the area worst affected by the fire.
The west of the Mackintosh has also deteriorated, while the east side of the building has continued to move outwards, according to the council.
The council said that, while it was unsure exactly when work would start, it had asked the project’s demolition contractor to consider beginning work on the eastern side of the site.
Mr Barlow said: “We do not know what effect [the demolition] will have on the rest of the building so I have to be clear this site remains dangerous and is becoming more dangerous.”
Prior to the latest blaze, Kier had been carrying out to restore the building following the 2014 fire.
The £35m programme of works was nearing completion ahead of the building’s planned reopening next year.
Last week Kier defended its fire safety measures, saying it had installed a smoke and heat detection system on site, as well as having a 24/7 fire patrol in place.