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Fri May 07 2021

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Dumfries & Galloway report details building failures

3 Jul 17 Dumfries & Galloway Council meets this week to discuss safety failings uncovered on public buildings in the area.

Kier's faults on DG One leisure centre were 'staggering'
Kier's faults on DG One leisure centre were 'staggering'

When Dumfries & Galloway Council sits on Tuesday 4th July, members will receive a damning report on public safety across a number of council buildings.

According to the council, the report exposes how private sector construction contractors failed to prioritise public safety when constructing public buildings for the council. This has resulted in a number of fundamental flaws, including missing wall ties, being uncovered.

The council commissioned the investigation in response to recent failings in Edinburgh school buildings.

Nine tonnes of masonry collapsed when a wall failed at Oxgangs Primary School in January 2016. And in April 2014, 12-year-old Keane Wallis-Bennett was killed when a screening wall in the gym changing room at Liberton High School collapsed onto her.

Dumfries & Galloway’s report details investigations carried out at council buildings and what has been done since. It will also provide details on construction flaws at the DG One leisure centre that Kier built. Kier handed over the £17m leisure centre in 2008 but as early as 2014 it had to be closed for £10m of remedial works to fix problems.

A BBC report says that problems have also been found at Dumfries Ice Bowl and checks are being carried out at the Ryan Centre in Stranraer.

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Council leader Elaine Murray said: “I have called this special meeting of full council to provide all members with important information on public and building safety issues. We need to be open and transparent about the state of our buildings.

“Like everyone else will be, I am shocked at the details relating to the condition of DG One. It is beyond comprehension that a private sector contractor would willingly hand over a building to the council that was so fundamentally flawed. Public safety was not prioritised and instead, we have been subject to corners being cut so that profits could be maximised by private sector contractors.”

Depute leader Rob Davidson added: “I am appalled that such serious building safety practices seem to have been ignored. The extent and nature of the problems at DG One, which are similar to those that we have seen across the country, is staggering. We could not have anticipated that fundamental safety procedures had not been followed in the original construction and the level of defects and required works are unprecedented.

“I consider any instances of non-compliance with building regulations completely unacceptable, in particular those in high risk area such as structural safety and fire protection. It is vital that everything is being done to deliver safe outcomes for the people who use or occupy our buildings.”

A spokesperson for Kier told the BBC: "A settlement for DG One has already been reached, enabling full remedial works to be undertaken, after a successful independent mediation was completed in 2016."

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