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Edinburgh schools contractor responsible for 2012 Glasgow closure

The construction firm blamed for structural faults at the Edinburgh schools forced to temporarily shut this week was responsible for the closure of another school in Glasgow in 2012 due to similar issues.

According to Construction News’ sister title Architects’ Journal, Galliford Try subsidiary Miller Construction, which is at the centre of a row over the closure of several schools in Edinburgh, also built Lourdes Primary School in Glasgow.

Four years ago that school had to be shut after it was deemed unsafe following a structural investigation.

An independent inspection was launched into the construction of the award-winning school in Cardonald when part of its roof was ripped off during storms in January 2012. According to reports at the time, engineers inspecting the school found that wall head ties – which are used to fix the tops of walls to the rest of a building – were missing in a number of locations, and it was closed immediately.

In early 2013 Aecom was appointed to construct internal masonry supports to social space, gym hall and east gable at the primary school. The work was approved in February and completed in April of that year.

Up to 2,000 of the 7,600 pupils affected by the school closures in Edinburgh this week are expected to be allowed back to their classrooms today (13 April) following a series of inspections.

Miller Construction, along with Amey and the Royal Bank of Scotland, formed the Edinburgh Schools Partnership consortium that won the contract to build the schools in Edinburgh in 2001 in a £360m deal with Edinburgh City Council.

The latest construction issues came to light when hundreds of bricks were blown away from an external wall at Oxgangs Primary School despite the school being built less than 10 years ago.

ESP was paid £360m under a public private partnership (PPP) to deliver and manage a bundle of buildings, 10 primary schools, two special schools, two high schools, a secure unit and a community centre. 

In a statement released on Tuesday (12 April), Galliford Try, which bought Miller Construction in 2014, said the firm was responsible for four out of the 17 schools that have closed.

The firms said: “Galliford Try acquired Miller Construction in 2014. In March this year we were notified that Oxgangs Primary School, built by Miller Construction more than 10 years ago, lost part of one external wall which blew off in Storm Gertrude.

“Oxgangs was built as part of Edinburgh’s PPP schools programme between 2002 and 2005. The programme, which comprised 17 schools in two phases, was managed by an SPV, Edinburgh Schools Partnership. ESP subcontracted the construction of the schools to a number of contractors including Miller Construction.”

Galliford Try has been contacted for comment.

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