South Scotland

Dumfries and Galloway Council finds 'fundamental flaws' in public buildings

DG One works
Image caption Extra repairs running to millions of pounds are said to be needed at DG One

A number of "fundamental flaws" - including missing wall ties - have been uncovered in public buildings in Dumfries and Galloway.

A report has revealed the issues in council properties built by the private sector.

It also provides details of the scale of construction flaws found at the DG One leisure centre.

Council leader Elaine Murray said she had called a special meeting to provide details of the safety issues.

A council statement said that after events such as a wall collapse at a school in Edinburgh and the Grenfell Tower fire public safety had been prioritised across the country.

'Beyond comprehension'

It said that had required it to check all public buildings built during a certain time and review their condition.

The report outlines the actions that the council is undertaking to ensure the safety of its buildings and the safety of the public.

Ms Murray said: "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."

She said it was "beyond comprehension" that a building that was so "fundamentally flawed" would be handed over to the council by a contractor.

The £17m leisure centre opened in 2008 but a string of problems led to its complete closure in 2014.

A long-running legal wrangle meant it took nearly two years before the council reached a settlement with contractors to allow a £10m repairs programme to begin.

However, the latest report suggests that extra works running to millions of pounds will be required.

Problems have also been found at Dumfries Ice Bowl and checks are being carried out at the Ryan Centre in Stranraer.

A review of schools built under a public private partnership deal in the region has not found any concerns over wall ties.

Checks are planned on all other council buildings.

'Completely unacceptable'

Depute council leader Rob Davidson said the extent and nature of the problems at DG One was "staggering".

He said the level of defects and required works were "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," he said.

"It is vital that everything is being done to deliver safe outcomes for the people who use or occupy our buildings."

The council is now being asked to commission an independent review into the DG One building and its construction so that "all lessons are learned".

A report to be considered in private will also look at all options for the future of the leisure centre which is currently about halfway through its repairs programme.

A spokesperson for Kier, who built the leisure centre, said: "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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