Council leaders’ outrage at threat to public safety after construction short cuts

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An emergency meeting of Dumfries and Galloway Council has been called on Tuesday after a shocking report to the local authority has revealed that private sector construction contractors have allegedly failed to prioritise public safety when constructing public buildings.

The council say this has resulted in a number of fundamental flaws, including missing wall ties, being uncovered.

A council spokesperson said: “Dumfries and Galloway Council will now meet on Tuesday, July 4, where elected members will receive the damning report on public safety across a number of council buildings.

“This important report is being presented to inform members in relation to safety investigations being carried out at council buildings, how the council has responded and providing assurances on the safety of buildings. “Furthermore, the report will also provide details on construction flaws at DG One, issues relating to public safety and future options.

“Following the tragic events at Liberton High School in Edinburgh in 2014, incidents with Edinburgh School external walls collapsing in 2016 and the recent tragic fire in London, ensuring public safety has been prioritised across the country.

“This calls into question the safety of all public buildings constructed during a set period of time and requires them to be reviewed. The report will outline the actions that the council is undertaking to ensure the safety of our buildings and the safety of the public who would use our facilities.”

Dumfries and Galloway Council Leader, Elaine Murray, said: “I have called this special meeting of Full Council to provide all Members with important information on public and building safety issues. We need to be open and transparent about the state of our buildings.

“Like everyone else will be, I am shocked at the details relating to the condition of DG One. It is beyond comprehension that a private sector contractor would willingly hand over a building to the council that was so fundamentally flawed. Public safety was not prioritised and instead, we have been subject to corners being cut so that profits could be maximised by private sector contractors.

Depute Leader Rob Davidson added: “I am appalled that such serious building safety practices seem to have been ignored. The extent and nature of the problems at DG One, which are similar to those that we have seen across the country, is staggering. We could not have anticipated that fundamental safety procedures had not been followed in the original construction and the level of defects and required works are unprecedented.

“I consider any instances of non-compliance with building regulations completely unacceptable, in particular those in high risk area such as structural safety and fire protection. It is vital that everything is being done to deliver safe outcomes for the people who use or occupy our buildings.”