‘Unacceptable’ standards found in four Edinburgh PFI schools built by Miller Construction

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  1. This is not a PFI issue its a design and build issue when contractors are not aware of their responsibility to inspect when no client clerk of works is present. Also I have to say it’s Scottish bricklayers’ aversion to wall ties having had a similar problem at First Direct Blantyre some years ago.

  2. It is very easy to state corners were cut for profit without understanding the checks and balances put in place as part of the agreement. It is not immediately and necessarily a one sided argument. No doubt the contractors will be held to account (assuming the specifications and requirements were not met) however the projects themselves must have been individually signed off by the client using such checks and balances. Therein lies the real question.

  3. Those profit margins and defects make regular architects’ feescales look like a bargain.

  4. This is about as surprising as the Panama revelations! Corners were bound to have been cut in some of these contracts. My NHS clients even had attempts to cut fire safety told to them at the planning stage! Sooner or later an injury or fatality will occur as a result of this short-sighted initiative. The great thing about such contracts, like the rail franchises, is if they don’t make enough money out of us, they can just walk off leaving the taxpayer to pick up the pieces!

  5. Having experienced Miller Construction on one other School in Northampton plus various comments regarding their housing side in West Sussex and Surrey, I feel especially regarding all schools constructed by this firm that all these school schemes ought to be investigated, as many are constructed for charitable organisations.

  6. This is absolutely not a contractual issue. This is a construction defect which has come about through the self certification process being woefully inadequate, caused by the failures of the PC & SPV, not the funding model.

    I’ve been a Contracts Manager on many a PFI/PPP, design & Build project in my time, and believe me, the SPV has been, in my experience, far more stringent with quality assurance and building reg compliance than any council CoW would ever be.

    We, in Scotland had the emergence of the SNP gaining minority control of the Scottish Parliament in 2007. One of the first things Alex Salmond did was to halt all PPP projects which hadn’t put a shovel in the ground. The reasoning was that the contractors were making huge profits. ? Evidently unbeknown to him, we in Scotland had been championing not for profit PPP’s for a good 5 years before he decided to decimate the only thriving part of Scottish construction at the time.

    You may ask what my point is. It is that the Scottish Government (Not Parliament) are calling for a full review on all PFI/PPP contracts at a cost of goodness knows, in the hope they find the Anti-Christ they banished in 2007. I am extremely vexed by the way this has been reported by the media, and the fact that the original failures are being overlooked because of the procurement model.

  7. TRAINING? no decent tradesman will produce shoddy work. Train well and demand qualifications. Call in duty of care at every opportunity. If clients demand short cuts ask for their insurers name. If designers seek shortcuts ask for their PI insurers names. Take names record all decisions, be not afraid to stand up and be counted. In the end you will be recognised and rewarded.

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