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Hoskins’ Scottish National Gallery revamp faces more delays after asbestos discovery

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Hoskins Architects’ revamp of the Scottish National Gallery has been delayed again after ‘unexpected defects’ including asbestos were found in some of the existing buildings

The Glasgow-based practice’s long-awaited project is set to transform the landmark Edinburgh building with a suite of new galleries directly accessible from Princes Street Gardens.

However, the gallery said that ’several issues’ were discovered when the 1970s building was fully stripped back to its core concrete structure, including damp penetration, asbestos and inadequate drainage in and around the site.

The completion of the scheme has now been pushed back to late 2021. 

It is not the first time the completion date has been revised. Originally scheduled to complete in 2018, it emerged in early 2017 that construction work had been delayed amid value engineering to keep the project within a revised £16.8 million budget.

Despite the cutbacks, extra design and project costs meant the scheme’s costs still rose to £22 million

John Leighton, director-general of the National Galleries of Scotland said: ’In the course of this work it has become apparent that there are some unexpected defects within the 1970s building which sits beneath the original 19th-century National Gallery.

’These include issues with damp penetration and inadequate drainage in and around the site. We are now addressing these issues to ensure that the building is fully protected and safeguarded for the future, so that it can better withstand any future extremes of weather.

In order to accommodate this extra work we have therefore revised our timescales for the project. We are now aiming to complete works on the new Gardens Level Galleries by the end of 2021, when we will be showcasing a brand new space for our fantastic collection of Scottish art.’

Last summer the gallery announced that this scaling-back of the scheme included scrapping a plan to extend the gallery by 5m into East Princes Street Gardens. Trustees also decided to reconfigure display space within the gallery. 

Hoskins Architects has been contacted for comment.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Novel upwards 'value engineering' (by whom): £9m-£16.8m-£22m-next £??m, when will this thirst for over zealous public projects be quenched? This all whilst citizen projects struggle for modest funds that bring tangible benefit.

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