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Council retains contractor despite canopy collapse at BDP-designed school

Telford and Wrekin Council has reaffirmed its commitment to award Kier Moss three schools contracts before the end of the year despite a major health and safety incident

A steel and timber canopy over the entrance to the new BDP-designed Abraham Darby Academy building collapsed on 25 August, hospitalising five men who were working on top of it at the time according to the AJ’s sister title Construction News.

Kier Moss is the main contractor on the site. In October 2009, the UK’s largest architectural practice won the commission to combine a 1,050-place academy building at Ironbridge in Telford with a nearby a 420-place primary school and a community leisure centre.

The Health and Safety Executive and council technical adviser Mott Macdonald are carrying out investigations into the cause of the collapse. Telford and Wrekin has confirmed the handover of the new facility will now be delayed.

But plans to award three more Building Schools for the Future contracts to Kier will not be affected, a council spokesman has now confirmed. He said: ‘Telford & Wrekin Council is continuing with its Building Schools for the Future programme as planned.

‘Planning applications have been submitted by the contractor in relation to the next round of schemes and will be determined by the council’s plans board in due course.’

The council appointed Kier as its main BSF framework contractor in 2009 and it has since been awarded contracts for the Abraham Darby Sports and Learning Community and Madeley Academy.

It is working with the council to develop schemes for the Phoenix School, Newport Girls’ High School Academy Trust and Mount Gilbert Special School.

Contracts have not yet been awarded for the schemes. If they were not awarded by 31 December they would not be eligible under the current framework and will have to be re-tendered.

The schemes were approved in principle by the council’s cabinet at the outline business case stage but as each project is brought forward it must be signed off by Partnerships for Schools and again by the cabinet for the final business case.

Once these approvals are given Telford and Wrekin can award the fixed price design and build contract.

The approved capital programme includes £144.1 million for the BSF project covering the financial periods 2011/12 to 2016/17.


Kier Moss’ statement on the Abraham Darby Academy canopy collape

Kier Moss has resumed work on the section of site that was closed following the recent collapse of a canopy at its Abraham Darby Academy project in Telford.

Kier Moss regional framework manager Richard Collin commented: ‘We have worked closely with and will continue to work with the Health & Safety Executive as part of their ongoing investigations but permission has now been given for work to restart on the main Academy building.

‘Remedial works will now be carried out to the brickwork and windows at the front of the Academy and throughout this time, residents will continue to have access to their homes. Work elsewhere on the site - the Woodlands Primary School and the adjacent leisure facilities - has been ongoing.

‘As a result of progress made, we can now confirm that the primary school will move into their new building as planned for the start of the 2012 spring term.

Engineers are conducting an independent investigation on site, alongside the HSE enquiry, and Kier is working with the community engagement team at Telford & Wrekin Council to ensure that local residents are kept fully informed about how the work is progressing.’




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