Council to sue over DG One

Dumfries and Galloway Council is to sue the builders of the DG One leisure complex for £6 million.

The legal action was approved this week during a meeting of the council’s Policy and Resources Committee.

The flagship leisure facility was designed and built by Kier Northern and completed in May 2008 but has been plagued by problems.

Since opening, there have been a number of faults at DG One, including closure of the pools and games hall. Following these closures, the council appointed independent technical experts to investigate and report on the cause of the problems.

A detailed schedule of defects was prepared and presented to the council. The list of defects relate to both the dry side (gym, games hall, bar) and the wet side (training pool, swimming pool, changing village). The remedial works required to address the defects were also identified by the technical experts and cost an estimated £3.7 million.

At this week’s meeting, councillors received an update from the director of community and customer services and the committee agreed to initiate court proceedings against Kier seeking to recover the full costs of the remedial works and all other reasonable costs and losses, hoping to recover up to £6 million.

The council will now put arrangements in train to undertake the necessary remedial works but anticipates that the building will have to be closed to the public from January 2014. Remedial works to the dry side will take approximately four months to complete, with the wet side being out of use for a further 13 months.

Community and customer services managers will develop a plan for mitigating this impact as far as possible and make alternative arrangements for customers. This plan will be reported to the council in due course. There will also be further meetings with the staff at DG One to inform them of the situation.

Councillor Ivor Hyslop, leader of the council, said: “We are all extremely disappointed and frustrated with the situation with DG One. The council is now taking the necessary steps to address the issues with the building. I look forward to receiving a number of reports in the up and coming months on how we are addressing these issues.”

And Councillor Colin Smyth added: “The scale of problems at DG One are breathtaking. Local people will be really angry that there appears to be more wrong with the design and building of this centre than there is right with it and it has taken the council almost five years to get to the bottom of this.

“Sadly, the fears we have expressed that this was going to cost millions to repair have been proven to be true. Local people are now going to be inconvenienced by a long closure while repairs are being carried out.

“It is hard to know how the council will provide an alternative to the swimming pool during the time it could be closed. However, one option to replace the hall while it is closed would be to re-open the Loreburn Hall. It is currently sitting empty and it is just around the corner from DG One.”