2005-01-16

Holyrood Building Still Not Finished

The new 'Scottish Parliament' building ('Holyrood') was at the centre of further embarrassing revelations yesterday after it emerged that more than 25_000 defects have been uncovered at the site since it opened. About 14_000 snagging items at the 431_million_GBP building have already been completed by workmen, but according to Parliament officials there are still 11_400 to be finished off. The on-going work is mostly minor -- from adjusting doors and windows, to sealing gaps and repairing damage caused during construction. However, there are also more major tasks still waiting to be done, including alterations to the public gallery in the debating chamber and new lighting which needs to be fitted in the public foyer. As many as 90 workmen are understood to be working 'through the night' to address problems in the controversial building.
'If you include every scratch or sticking-out nail there are 11_400 "snagging" items still to be completed', said a Parliament spokesman. 'Architectural critics rate "Holyrood" as a "world-class" building, and we'll settle for nothing less than "perfection". 'Contractors are doing a good job, working in the evening when the building is quiet, to get the process finished. It is important to stress that "snagging" involves no cost to the taxpayer'.
However, 'Independent' Lothians MSP Ms.Margo Macdonald, (Margo.MacDonald.msp@scottish.parliament.uk) a leading 'Holyrood' critic, said the problems highlighted the rush to finish the building on time.
Margo Mcdonald 'The euphoria that was created around the opening of the parliament has now been replaced by the reality that the building is not finished and the level of "snagging" associated with such a complicated building is no more than might have been expected', she said. 'Of course, this was denied by the people who felt that to acknowledge anything other than total perfection was to admit defeat'.
Mr.John Gibbons, chief architect for 'Holyrood', said such an apparently massive number of defects was not unusual in a building of the size and complexity of 'The Parliament', insisting there was 'no great alarm'.
'A lot of it will be putting screws where they should have been in the first place and if there are four screws that have to be adjusted, each one will count as a" snag"', he said. 'Overall, one of the things that has impressed me is that the quality of workmanship has not left a lot of outstanding "snagging"'.
Mr.Gibbons said there were still some larger items to be resolved in the main public entrance to the building, such as the extra lighting agreed at the end of last year and a location for a light sculpture which has been bought for 'The Parliament'. And he said there were plans for alterations in the public gallery of the chamber to improve the visibility from one section of seats. Official reports to the finance committee have advised that 'snagging' would continue into 2005 with completion due for 2005-04. Staff began moving into the new building at the end of 2004-08 and, under the normal post-completion contract, the parliament has a full 12 months from handover to identify faults to be rectified at the contractors' expense. MSPs were informed before Christmas about night-time working in their office building and asked for their co-operation. A 'memo.' from the Parliament's Head of Facilities told them:
'Bovis are extremely active at night with 50-plus men on site carrying out a myriad of snagging tasks'.
'Holyrood building hit by a few little snags -- 25,000 to be precise', Andrew Denholm, The Scotsman, 2005-01-15 Links: Holyrood parliament building Holyrood Inquiry Scottish Parliament BBC -- live streaming of the inquiry. Fraser Inquiry ends Holyrood site failure 'gigantic', BBCNews BBC under fire at Holyrood probe, BBC News Inquiry supremo seeking closure, BBC News At-a-glance: Inquiry sittings, BBC News Timeline: Holyrood, BBC News Holyrood price tag rises to �430m, BBC News 'Damning' Holyrood report, BBC News Scots Parliament architect dies, BBC News Margo MacDonald MSP The Scottish Parliament Edinburgh EH99 1SP Tel: 0131 348 5714 Fax: 0131 348 6271

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