Miller Construction built schools to be inspected for defects

Oxgangs Primary School
Oxgangs Primary School

Safety inspections will be carried out at schools built across Scotland by Miller Construction following the collapse of a wall at an Edinburgh primary.

The contractor, which was acquired by Galliford Try in 2014, has started remedial work at Oxgangs Primary School after hundreds of bricks were blown from the wall during Storm Gertrude in January.

Three other schools had to be temporarily closed in the capital following the incident.

Galliford Try has also contacted councils who worked with Miller on school jobs in Glasgow, Fife and Inverclyde under the Public Private Partnership 1 initiative.

The contractor said the inspections were “a precautionary measure” and that it expects Oxgangs to reopen on April 11.

A Galliford Try spokesperson said: “The four schools temporarily closed in Edinburgh comprised the second phase of the PPP1 programme, which was completed by Miller Construction in 2005.

“We have already started remedial work at Oxgangs Primary School and are assessing the requirement for work on the further three schools.

“Any remedial work required will be carried out as quickly as possible allowing the children to return to their studies with the minimum disruption.

“While we are not aware of any defects, as a precautionary measure, we have contacted the clients of the PPP school projects Miller Construction undertook in Glasgow, Fife and Inverclyde. Further investigations will be carried out as appropriate.”

Signed in 2001, Edinburgh’s PPP deal for schools was worth £360 million.

In return for 30 years of fixed payments from the council, a private consortium designed, built and managed the schools.

Miller Construction was part of that consortium, and part of others building schools elsewhere in Scotland.

A PPP1 deal signed in Glasgow a year earlier was worth three times as much as Edinburgh’s, and involved 29 secondaries and one primary school across the country.

Glasgow City Council said its PPP contract would now carry out surveys on the “handful” of schools built by Miller Construction.

Galliford Try said it had also contacted the clients of schools built by the company in Inverclyde, and inspections are also being carried out by Fife Council.

Shelagh McLean, head of education and children’s services (equity and system improvement), said: “Fife Council has contacted both of our PPP Contractors, who are monitoring the situation in Edinburgh.

“They will be carrying out inspections in Fife during the school Easter holidays.

“Both contractors also carry out annual inspections of the building fabric and free standing walls as part of their ongoing maintenance.”

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