Weekly inspections of the scaffolding will be carried out

Mackintosh Building at Glasgow School of Art shutterstock_87458963

Restoration work on the Glasgow School of Art’s world-famous Mackintosh building has been suspended due to the covid-19 outbreak.

Demolition contractor Reigart Contracts Ltd had been undertaking clearance work at the site but will now pause this after Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon advised non-essential building sites to close.

A spokesperson for the Glasgow School of Art said it had “been advised by Reigart Contracts Ltd that, in line with the guidance from the Scottish Government, the company has suspended clearance work in the Mackintosh Building until further notice”.

A Reigart Contracts team will return to the site on a weekly basis to conduct inspections of the scaffolding covering much of the grade A-listed building since it was devastated by a second fire in 2018.

Glasgow School of Art, by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, pictured in 2005

Source: Steve Cadman / Flickr

Glasgow School of Art, by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, pictured in 2005, before the fires

The spokesperson added: “All these precautionary inspections will be staggered, with physical distancing protocols followed at all times to ensure the safety of personnel undertaking the work. A Reigart Contracts Ltd site manager will be in attendance during all inspections.”

Built in stages between 1895 and 1909, the building was described by Pevsner as “the pioneer of the modern movement” and is noted for the unique design’s lack of derivation from existing styles.

The building has been structurally fragile since suffering two major fires within the space of four years, with some exterior sections of the building needing to be dismantled to prevent collapse.

Glasgow School of Art fire

The building’s famous library was destroyed in the first fire in 2014, caused by a can of flammable foam being placed too close to an overheating projector.

Though the Glasgow fire service estimated that 90% of the building had been saved on that time, another more damaging fire struck in 2018. The vast majority of the restoration work which had been carried out, inluding the rebuilt library, was destroyed.

The Glasgow School of Art was placed 8th for art and design in the 2019 QS university world rankings.