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Report findings paint grim picture over troubled Bath Spa contract

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An independent investigation into the cause of the Bath Spa paint fiasco appears criticises the performance of contractor Mowlem, architect Grimshaw and product RIW Toughseal.

The examination, the first stage of which was released by Bath council last week, is the latest attempt to establish responsibility for the problems that have dogged Grimshaw's prestigious spa restoration.

An opening date for the spa remains suspended indefinitely as both Mowlem and the design team headed by Grimshaw continue to deny responsibility.

Remedial works have been blocked until the full cause of the problems can be established.

The report, the first stage of an examination by independent consultant STATs, identified a range of factors thought to have contributed to the problem, including the improper use of render, inadequately prepared surfaces, application of paint in cold conditions, use of multiple thin layer coating techniques and contamination of paint surfaces between layers.

However, it also criticised the specification of a product 'for which there was no satisfactory complete track record of use in similar environment or for which suitable rigorous trials had been undertaken'.

Mowlem this week continued to blame Grimshaw's specification for the defects and voiced its disappointment that the report 'does not include any recommendations on how the situation might be resolved'.

This latest development follows a meeting called by construction minister Nigel Griffiths MP two weeks ago to find a way of resolving the impasse. The DTI refused to release details of the 'private'meeting.

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