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We need better than inconclusive reports and needless waste

Words:
Jan-Carlos Kucharek

From the report into the cause of the Mac fire in 2018 to the unsuccessful Green Homes Grant, Jan-Carlos Kucharek laments the prevalence of words over action

At a time when self-reflection has been the order of the day, the ‘undetermined’ finding  of the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s report earlier this year into the cause of the Glasgow School of Art fire on 15 June 2018 still grates. Barely a year before, we’d watched the Grenfell Fire in horror, its spread captured on phones and CCTV cameras at different times and viewpoints, helping later analysis of the fire’s pathology – if not the wider industry and cultural causes, still being looked at now.

So, it’s hard to accept that we can sift through the school’s burned-out embers, reach no conclusions, and just move on. It has me asking if the event could be interrogated by architect Eyal Weizman’s Forensic Architecture? It might not come to a different answer but at least it would result in a worthy artwork to help us reach closure on the loss of Mackintosh’s masterpiece.

Some succour for feelings of needless waste may come in the form of the government’s Clean Heat Grant, being introduced this April to incentivise uptake of sustainable domestic heating technologies. The Green Homes Grant scheme was taken up by less than 10% of the 600,000 homes it was meant to target, due mainly to over-complex application processes and punitive time­scales for installers to fit insulation and kit before being able to redeem vouchers for payment. Only £314 million of the £1.5bn fund was disbursed – £50 million of that in administration. Here’s hoping lessons have been learned and the path to claiming a voucher for your air source heat pump will be less challenging. But remember, to be grant eligible there must be no recommendations on an EPC for loft or cavity wall insulation. Happy retrofitting…

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