The industry has been urged to “re-examine its approach” to bricklaying by a report into the closure of 17 Edinburgh schools.
Faults were found in Oxgangs Primary School when a wall collapsed during Storm Gertrude in January 2016.
A further 16 schools closed by the end of April after building defects were found.
The study – led by John Cole – said the cause of the collapse of the Oxgangs school wall was “primarily determined” by the “competence of the bricklayer and the quality of the workmanship applied”.
Professor Cole said at a council hearing on Thursday that the “primary cause” for the wall collapse at Oxgangs was the “poor-quality construction by the bricklayer”.
The 17 schools were delivered in two phases: the first 13 through a design-and-build contract with a joint venture of Miller Construction and Amey Asset Services; the second four, including Oxgangs, under a design-and-build deal with Miller Construction.
The report said bricklayer VB Contracts was subcontracted by Miller Construction – now part of Galliford Try – for the four schools in phase two.
The report stated that the bricklayers “may not have had the requisite skills necessary” for installing the head restraints for the Oxgangs school wall, or “were not aware” of the implications in failing to do so.
It added: “The construction industry needs to re-examine its approach to the recruitment, training, appointment, means of remuneration, vetting, supervision and quality assurance of bricklayers.”
The report also called for the industry to review its approach to remuneration.
It said the current approach of paying bricklayers on the number of bricks laid instead of the number of hours worked should be changed to remove “any perverse incentive” for essential elements of walls to be omitted.
An Amey spokesperson said: “As a business we take pride in the services that we deliver and we are pleased that the report has recognised the quality of services that we provide across the school estate.
”We have supported and cooperated fully with the inquiry to date and can confirm that all remedial work has been completed.”
VB Contracts is now understood to be in liquidation.
A spokesperson for Galliford Try said the firm “welcomes the publication of Professor John Cole CBE’s final report”.
They added: “Throughout the inquiry we have co-operated fully and openly at all stages. It is a matter of record that Galliford Try acquired the historic liabilities for Miller Construction when it purchased the business in July 2014.”