Dumfries leisure centre construction failings ‘unique’ and ‘surprisingly wide’, report finds

An inquiry report on construction failings at the DG One leisure centre in Dumfries has highlighted more than 90 defects at the project.

The flagship facility opened in 2008 but was forced to shut permanently six years later for repair work which will cost more than the original construction. Since then, vast portions of the centre have had to be demolished and rebuilt.

Professor John Cole, who led the independent investigation, said he has never seen so many issues in one project and that Kier Northern – now Kier Construction Scotland– was “unquestionably” responsible for the shoddy work identified in DG One.

He added: “In the opinion of the inquiry the extent and nature of the defects discovered are evidence of a lack of care, attention, basic construction skills or understanding of some of the fundamental principles of good construction on the part of those who built this building and those who supervised them.”

Mr Cole, who also spearheaded the probe into building failures at 17 of Edinburgh’s schools, condemned the construction industry as a whole in his report.

The “widespread presence” of similar problems to those found in Edinburgh – such as the structural integrity of external walls and adequate fire-stopping measures – suggests these failures “are indicative of systemic problems in the quality of work provided by the construction industry”, he said.

However, he said there was also a responsibility for public bodies to ensure they had adequate resources to check that what was being built met standards required and complied with building regulations.

“Proper, independent scrutiny on the job at the time is the only way that many of these defects would have been discovered,” he added.

Dumfries and Galloway Council is to examine the contents of the report and look at all lessons to be learned.

Council leader Elaine Murray said the report did not make “pleasant reading”.

She said it made it clear that the “principal problem” lay with the construction and the contractor.

However, she accepted the council did make a number of mistakes and there were lessons to be learned.

An executive group is be set up to look at the full implications of the report.

Ms Murray added the council would be sending the findings to both the health and safety executive and the police to see if they wished to investigate.

Kier has also said it will look at the contents of Professor Cole’s report.

A spokesman said: “Kier notes the release of the report and will assess the findings of the independent inquiry as part of a continuous review of the delivery of its projects.”

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