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Contractors to pay out for Edinburgh schools repairs

3 December 2018 | By Neil Gerrard

Oxgangs Primary School (Image: Edinburgh Evening News / Andrew O'Brien)

The contractors involved in the Edinburgh Schools Partnership (ESP) will shoulder the costs related to the closure and repair of 17 schools in the city in 2016.

The news was announced by the City of Edinburgh Council and ESP ahead of a Council meeting tomorrow (4 December).

ESP, a consortium involving Amey and Miller Construction, undertook the works to the schools after an external wall at Oxgangs Primary School collapsed following high winds.

An investigation uncovered structural defects at the school while further probes found problems at other schools across the PPP1 estate.

Among the key settlement terms, the deal agrees that all structural and other defect rectification works have been carried out at the sole expense of ESP or their subcontractors

Meanwhile, the Council will keep an agreed sum of money regarding the structural defects and fire-related works, ensuring that that there has been no cost to the public purse.

ESP has also agreed to open the PPP1 buildings for longer hours at no cost to the Council on an ad-hoc basis to allow them to be used for sports and other activities.

And there will be an additional, new independent inspection and monitoring regime throughout the PPP1 estate.

The Council said the proposed settlement sums exceed the associated closure-related costs incurred by the Council and that the money from the settlement will be used to carry out any further remedial works identified on buildings across the whole Council estate including schools. 

Council leader Adam McVey said: “This has been a lengthy and complex process but I’m pleased that we’ve been able to reach an agreement with ESP. This settlement provides significant benefits to our schools and local communities and crucially means the works carried out on the PPP1 schools came at no cost to the Council. There will now be additional inspections on the PPP1 buildings and increased opening hours for those facilities. Reaching this agreement also means we can avoid potential lengthy and costly legal proceedings for both parties and return to our focus of providing world-class facilities for our young people.”

A spokesperson for Edinburgh Schools Partnership said “This is a significant and positive development for all of the schools impacted by the closures in 2016. As the Council report shows we have made strenuous efforts to reach an agreement that reflects our commitment to work in partnership with the Council and avoids the need for difficult and expensive legal action.

“In particular, the contractual enhancements to the existing monitoring framework provide the basis for ESP and our suppliers to continue the process of restoring confidence to pupils, parents and staff. We would like to reiterate our apologies to all those affected by the closures and say again that the safety of the children and staff throughout the PPP1 school estate remains our primary concern.”

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