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'Communication breakdown key to fiasco' says Holyrood engineer

One of the most senior figures in engineering giant Ove Arup has blamed the Scottish Parliament's problems on a lack of leadership and communication in the construction of Enric Miralles' project, writes Ed Dorrell.

David Lewis, a partner in the international firm, told a specially reconvened meeting of the Holyrood Inquiry that many of the standard arrangements were not in place on the £431 million scheme.

'In any project there has to be a leader who coordinates and takes the project forward in a controlled fashion. It can be the architect, the project manager or the lead consultant. In this project there was no one, in my opinion, specifically to do that role, ' Lewis said.

The project engineer also complained that there was a real problem with communication channels on the scheme.

'We agreed through the spring of 1999 to visit Barcelona frequently for design sessions with Enric, ' he said. 'These were productive but were frequently invalidated by the following week, when we would be invited to view a new model of some part of the building.'

The Holyrood Inquiry was convened at the end of last year to investigate the cost and time delays that saw the project value spiral from an original estimate of £40 million to the current figure.

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