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Scottish Parliament roof set for further surgery

Struts in the Scottish Parliament's problematic debating chamber roof will be beefed up by piercing each end with stainless steel pins at the cost of £130,000 it emerged this week.

The 20mm pins will pass through each laminated timber strut connecting it with a stainless steel 'shoe' to prevent it swinging free if load reversal occurs as it did earlier this year (NCE 9 March).

On 2 March 2006 one 3.7m long laminated oak strut swung free from its connection. Preliminary investigations revealed that one of the two 10mm diameter bolts connecting the strut to its stainless steel shoe was missing and the other had no head.

To enable the strut to work free the strut and connection, which was primarily designed for compression, would have gone into tension, engineers said.

Fifteen suspect struts have been temporarily strapped up to prevent them becoming dislodged.

The solution was developed by Arup and approved by independent consultant Atkins.

The current bill is in addition to the £431M spent on the building's construction. The original budget for the building was £40M. (NCE 7 Oct 2004).

It is understood that £40,000 of the £130,000 could come from retention money which was not paid to the previous roof steelwork contractor, Timber Engineering Connections, which went into receivership two and a half years ago.

MSP George Reid said, 'We have repeatedly stated we will do everything possible to redeem the costs to the public purse'.

Ruby Kitching

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