Further building defects found after structural surveys in Scottish schools

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Building defects found in dozens of schools after structural surveys taken following the collapse of a wall at Oxgangs Primary last year

The case regarding building defects in Scottish schools has been reopened after structural surveys commissioned in the aftermath of 17 schools being closed in 2016 revealed safety issues. In response to the previous failures, additional surveys have uncovered more potentially dangerous flaws in many Scottish primary schools. The problem stems from inadequate wall ties between the outer and inner walls that can lead to structural failure.

New steel framed structure now used

A more modern steel framed structure is now used over the previous brick and block system. This allows greater flexibility of design and is not as susceptible to the same problems seen at Oxgangs.

Possibly not the only fault

Professor Alan Dunlop, a fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland and a visiting professor at Robert Gordon University, said the potential scale of the issue was “frightening”.

He said: “The PPP financing process was not only used for schools, it was also used for hospitals and a number of public buildings, care homes, things like that. I’m wondering, if they found a similar problem in schools, are other things happening in other building type that have been used and building under PPP?

“And this is focusing primarily on wall ties and header ties – are there other elements of the building’s structure that are actually at fault? I find it difficult to believe it could only rest with wall ties and header ties.

“We have to review and re-think how we build these buildings, especially for our children.

“The only way we found out about Oxgangs was because the wall collapsed. If the wall hasn’t collapsed, we would never have been any the wiser – so we need intrusive surveys to find out just what on earth is going on.”

The original inquest into building standards can be downloaded from the Edinburgh council website.

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