THE Glasgow School of Art has entered into arbitration proceedings with its insurers following a devastating blaze in 2018 which badly damaged the Mackintosh Building.

The school confirmed the dispute on the same day it announced it is preparing to put out a tender for architects to proceed with its planned reinstatement of the structure.

The world-renowned building, designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, was severely damaged when a blaze broke out on June 15 2018 as it neared the end of a £35 million restoration project following a previous fire in May 2014.

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) investigation was unable to establish how the 2018 blaze started and recorded the origin and cause as “undetermined”.

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The GSA said it has chosen to enter into arbitration proceedings with its insurers as it has still to ascertain its policy cover following what it termed as “a very complex insurance claim”.

The arbitration process is subject to a confidentiality provision meaning the GSA is unable to disclose any further details.

The GSA also announced it will issue a tender in the coming months for architects, cost consultants and economic impact experts for the reinstatement of the building.

It is anticipated the appointments will be confirmed by July and an updated strategic outline business case (SOBC) will be published early next year.

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Professor Penny Macbeth, director of the GSA, said: “We are committed to the faithful reinstatement of the Mackintosh Building, and for that to be done in an exemplary way, returning it as a working art school building at the heart of Glasgow’s creative and cultural eco-system.

“While the protective wrap installed in June 2023 does its job of allowing the building to dry out over the next couple of years, it is important that we move forward with parallel work strands in what is a complex building project.

“What we are now doing, through the SOBC addendum process, robustly testing our previous assumptions, economic impact, timelines and approaches to delivery, whilst initiating arbitration with our insurers, will ensure we can make strategic, evidenced-based decisions, ensuring the Mackintosh Building is successfully rebuilt and contributes to the regeneration of Sauchiehall Street and this part of Glasgow City Centre.”

GSA said that work to date, totalling about £18 million, has been funded by interim payments from the insurers.