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Buildings set for new checks after Edinburgh schools scandal

Edinburgh image by kim traynor copy
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Edinburgh City Council has announced plans to review the quality of its buildings after defects emerged at more than a dozen schools constructed under a public-private partnership agreement

Following remedial works carried out on 17 schools earlier this year, the authority said that ‘a review of the full council estate’ would take place to provide precautionary survey work.

A council spokesman said that, while there was no evidence to suggest any of the city’s buildings were at risk, the authority wished to make certain that the kinds of defects that affected the schools did not exist elsewhere in the council stock.

All of the problem schools were constructed by the Edinburgh Schools Partnership under a contract awarded in 2001, and known as PPP1.

The 30-year, £360 million deal to build and maintain the schools was won by a consortium led by Amey and Miller Construction. However, problems with the build quality of the schools emerged following the collapse of a wall at Oxgangs Primary School in January this year.

Former RIBA councillor John Cole, an honorary professor at the School of Planning, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Queen’s University Belfast, is now conducting an inquiry into the procurement of the schools.

The proposed surveys, which have an initial funding allocation of £500,000, will focus on structures with ‘similar design features’ to the problem schools.

The city council spokesman said no individual buildings, nor overall target number of structures to be surveyed, were being identified.

He said: ‘A proportionate and structured approach will be adopted to inspecting the wider estate, specifically looking at the issues identified on the PPP1 buildings regarding wall ties and head restraints.

‘A technical working group consisting of senior officers and structural engineers with direct experience of the inspections and remedial works on the PPP1 estate has been set up. Preparation work has already commenced.

‘At this time it is not possible to estimate the cost but an initial £500,000 budget has been identified from last year’s budget under-spend.’

Seventeen PPP1 schools were forced to close for varying amounts of time this year, affecting the education of 7,600 pupils. All had reopened by the start of the autumn term.

Edinburgh said it expected Cole’s inquiry to be concluded by the end of the year.

Oxgangs primary school edinburgh

Oxgangs Primary School edinburgh

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