Sprinklers not installed at Burrell museum as £66m upgrade continues
THERE is no sprinkler system installed in the Burrell Museum in Glasgow which is currently closed for refurbishment in a £66 million upgrade.
The museum shut temporarily in October 2016 for what was anticipated to be a four-year revamp to increase public space by 83 per cent and gallery space by more than a third. The renovation of the Category A listed building will create a new visitor experience and allow the display of more of the vast collection, which prior to closure was only displaying about 20 per cent of the works.
The contractors hired to renovate the Burrell are Kier Construction, the same company which was undertaking work on the ill-fated Glasgow School of Art, which was destroyed by fire last month.
When Kier was awarded the contract managing director of the company in Scotland, Brian McQuade, said, “We have a solid record of working on major heritage projects of this scale, including the restoration of the Mackintosh Building at the Galsgow School of Art and the refurbishment of Edinburgh College of Art and Aberdeen Music Hall.”
It emerged after the fire which ravaged the Mackintosh building that while sprinklers had been installed they were not operational.
The Burrell, which displayed a portion of the artworks collected in the 19th century by Glasgow shipping magnate Sir William Burrell, is due to reopen in 2020. It is understood that the majority of the 9,000 artworks have been removed from the building in Pollok Park as it is cleared for Kier to begin work later this month.
A Kier spokesperson referred all questions to the client, Glasgow Life, a charity set up by the city council to deliver cultural, sporting and educational activities. Glasgow City Council has pledged £27m towards the upgrade and virtually all of the budget has been raised.
A spokesman for Glasgow Life, confirming that no sprinklers are presently installed, said: “There is currently full-time security at the building. The city has an excellent track record in delivering major capital projects on time and on budget and without serious incident.
“Our management, fire risk assessment and monitoring processes are robust and well established. All contractors comply with the Joint Fire Code and Health and Safety Executive’s guidance for fire safety for construction sites – the industry standard for fire safety.
“The vast majority of treasures housed in the Burrell have been decanted ahead of main contractor works and are housed in state-of-the-art museum storage facilities at Kelvin Hall and Glasgow Museums Resource Centre.”