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Edinburgh schools contractor also blamed for closure of Glasgow school in 2012

Lourdes primary school in glasgow
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The construction firm blamed for structural faults at four Edinburgh schools was responsible for the closure of another school in Glasgow in 2012 due to similar issues, the AJ has learned

Galliford Try subsidiary Miller Construction, which is at the centre of a row over the closure of several schools in Edinburgh, also built Lourdes Primary School in Glasgow. Four years ago the school, designed by PJMP Architects (now jmarchitects), had to be shut after it was deemed unsafe following a structural investigation.

An independent inspection was launched into the construction of the award-winning school in Cardonald when part of its roof was ripped off during storms in January 2012. According to reports at the time, engineers inspecting the school found that wall head ties - which are used to fix the tops of walls to the rest of a building - were missing in a number of locations, and it was closed immediately.

In early 2013 AECOM was appointed to construct internal masonry supports to social space, gym hall and east gable at the primary school. The work was approved in February and completed in April of that year.

Up to 2,000 of the 7,600 pupils affected by the school closures in Edinburgh this week are expected to be allowed back to their classrooms today (13 April) following a series of inspections.

Miller Construction, along with Amey and the Royal Bank of Scotland, formed a consortium which won the contract to build the schools in Edinburgh in 2001 as part of the £360 million 30-year Edinburgh Schools Partnership (ESP) deal with Edinburgh City Council.

The latest construction issues came to light when hundreds of bricks were blown away from an external wall at Oxgangs Primary School despite the school being built less than 10 years ago.

ESP was paid £360 million under a public private partnership (PPP) to deliver and manage a bundle of buildings including the construction of 10 primary schools, two special schools, two high schools, a secure unit and a community centre. 

In a statement released on Tuesday (12 April) Galliford Try, which took over Miller construction in 2014, said that the firm was responsible for four out of the 17 schools which have closed.

The statement read: ’Galliford Try acquired Miller Construction in 2014. In March this year we were notified that Oxgangs Primary School, built by Miller Construction more than 10 years ago, lost part of one external wall which blew off in Storm Gertrude.

’Oxgangs was built as part of Edinburgh’s PPP schools programme between 2002 and 2005. The programme, which comprised 17 schools in two phases, was managed by an SPV, Edinburgh Schools Partnership. ESP subcontracted the construction of the schools to a number of contractors including Miller Construction.’

Galliford Try has been contacted for comment.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • Interesting that the faults discovered in Glasgow four years ago apparently didn't ring any warning bells about other similar school buildings constructed by the same company. Perhaps there's scope for more joined-up thinking - and not just in Scotland.
    In the not so distant past the collapse of the West Gate (Yarra) Bridge in Melbourne and the Cleddau Bridge in Pembrokeshire led to reviews of the design and construction of box girder bridges, resulting in the need for remedial work on similar bridges worldwide.

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  • East London Urbanist

    The picture in the header of this article may be one of the most depressing things I have ever seen.

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