Dumfries and Galloway Council have taken steps to ensure that Dumfries High School’s new build is free from disaster, having learnt its lesson over a scandal-plagued leisure centre development.
The Daily Record reports that education chiefs are wanting to prevent any financial or structural disasters when the new build of Dumfries High School commences.
The council is insistent that it has learned from the costly issues that arose from the £17 million DG1 leisure complex which was forced to close after six years for a £20 million programme of repeats and overhaul.
During a recent meeting of Dumfries and Galloway Council’s education committee, members tabled a discussion of the progress of phase two of the Dumfries Learning Town project, which will see Dumfries High School rebuild at an estimated cost of £48.2 million.
This includes a partial refurbishment of Dumfries Academy for £16.5 million, and the relocation of Loreburn Primary into the Academy’s Minerva building, at a cost of £7.12 million.
The programme of works is due to commence in 2023, and a report on the contract requirements for a new build Dumfries High School was tabled ahead of the committee appointing a construction partner.
North West Dumfries Councillor David McKie said: “The experience we’ve had over the last number of years with new-builds, some of them have been pretty disastrous.
“Is there any chance that we could get companies that – if they get the contract – they put a fund aside for us to use if we’re unhappy with the development when it’s supposedly finished?”
Council education officer Larann Foss said that it was a good question, but from a. Technical viewpoint, the council does not have the capacity.
“From a legal standpoint, we have the ability to sign off the quality of the product when it’s finished,” he said.
He continued to say that if the council was not in agreement with the specification, assuming it hadn’t been met, then there is a legal position where the council look to gain damages, and they can look at a legal challenge with the contractor to resolve any defects, for which there is a warranty period.
One key difference, he stated, is that for this project, the council has ‘learnt all the lessons’ from the Edinburgh Schools, DG1, and from the root cause analysis.
“We’ve also gone down a road now where we’re selecting a procurement route that’s most advantageous for the council – and a huge part of that will be the quality control part of it.”
He said there is no one in a similar position that wasn’t already aware of the development issues in Dumfries and Galloway, and the situation creates a ‘goldfish bowl’ for any contractural and structural work that takes place.
The quality control side of the project will be scrutinised more than any other project to date, he added, but wanted to ensure that there is a legal position to challenge the contractor should there be any issues with the end product.
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