Expert panel to consider mandating sprinkler systems in historic hotel conversions in Scotland

03 October 2023 by
Expert panel to consider mandating sprinkler systems in historic hotel conversions in Scotland

A group of experts will be asked by the Scottish Government to consider if sprinkler systems should be a compulsory requirement when historic buildings are converted to hotels, following a report into the fatal Cameron House hotel fire.

Simon Midgley, 32, and his partner, Richard Dyson, 38, from London, died in the blaze at Cameron House on the banks of Loch Lomond in December 2017.

The fire began after night porter Christopher O'Malley emptied ash and embers from an open fire into a plastic bag and placed it into a concierge cupboard containing kindling and newspapers.

A Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) into the incident was held last year to determine if lessons could be learned and observations made by sheriff Thomas McCartney included that a sprinkler system could "realistically have resulted in the deaths being avoided".

A Short-Life Working Group had been established to consider the recommendations made by McCartney and this has determined that guidance to promote the use of automatic fire suppression system in historic buildings converted for use as hotels be put in place during 2023, with an expert working group established by the end of the year to consider making this a requirement.

The panel will also consider the management of historic construction techniques after expert witnesses told the inquiry that fire spread within concealed cavities and voids often spreads undetected and will spread more rapidly in traditionally constructed 18th century buildings, such as Cameron House.

The Short-Life Working Group has also said that owners and operators of hotels should have in place up to date and robust procedures, to ensure that ash from open fires is removed and disposed of in a safe manner; that there should be clear and robust evacuation arrangements in place in the event of a fire to address foreseeable contingencies such as difficulties in accessing guest lists, or inclement weather and that all staff have experience of evacuation drills.

Cameron house was previously fined £500,000 and O'Malley was given a community payback order over the fire. The hotel reopened after a refurbishment in 2021.

Continue reading

You need to create an account to read this article. It's free and only requires a few basic details.

Already subscribed?

The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking