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'Client unprepared for mammoth task ahead, ' Holyrood inquiry told

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Revelations continued to emerge this week at the Fraser Inquiry into the escalating costs and delays on Enric Miralles' Holyrood parliament building.

The inquiry - which is investigating how the original estimate of £40 million has spiralled to now top £400 million - has unearthed failings in the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body (SPCB), the company set up to act as client.

Sir David Steel, the parliament's speaker and SPCB chair, has admitted under questioning that the five MSPs that made up the body were completely unprepared for the mammoth task that lay ahead of them.

And in evidence expected to be heard yesterday, former SPCB member John Young admitted that he felt that the committee was unaware of the scale of the scheme, and 'ignorant' of the relevant construction processes.

The choice of the new parliament's site also cropped up again. The inquiry questioned conservation architect James Simpson, who dismissed claims by the Scottish Executive that the existing Church of Scotland Assembly Building on Edinburgh's Mound was too small to house the parliament.

Simpson, who is a partner in Simpson and Brown Architects, told Lord Fraser that the Church Assembly Building could have been sensitively converted for the parliament's use, at a small percentage of the cost of Miralles' project.

Meanwhile, details have also emerged of a row that took place between Miralles and his executive architect RMJM during the early construction phases over payment and contract agreements.

The inquiry continues.

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