Oxgangs Primary wall collapse email flags ‘a number of issues’

The collapsed wall at Oxgangs Primary. Picture: Toby Williams
The collapsed wall at Oxgangs Primary. Picture: Toby Williams
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AN investigation into a collapsed wall at a city primary school has thrown up “a number of issues” which led to it falling down.

Oxgangs Primary School was shut for three days earlier this month after hundreds of bricks were ripped from a wall during Storm Gertrude.

Dramatic photos showed the building’s outer cladding stripped bare across a large section, with masonry scattered across the school grounds.

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Structural engineers are currently probing the cause of the collapse, and have yet to officially report back to the council.

But in an email seen by the News, a senior official wrote two weeks ago: “With regard to this particular element which collapsed (the large gable end wall), early indications are that there were a number of issues specific to this wall which lead to the failure.

“It would not be appropriate to comment in any detail in advance of the structural engineers’ final report.”

Oxgangs Primary was destroyed by fire in 2001, and rebuilt just a decade ago under a £360 million public-private partnership agreement between the council and service provider Amey.

The deal created a PFI consortium called the Edinburgh Schools Partnership, which is led by Amey and also includes Miller Construction and the Bank of Scotland.

Following the recent wall collapse, the council said all 17 of Edinburgh’s Amey-run schools, known as “PPP1 schools”, would be checked over by contractors for safety issues – a process that is still ongoing.

In the e-mail, sent on February 8, the senior official said the Edinburgh Schools Partnership would have “responsibility for cost of rectification”.

He added: “Issues around accountability will be something discussed with Edinburgh Schools Partnership (the PPP1 Provider) in due course. The current focus has been dealing with the immediate issues.”

Oxgangs councillor Jason Rust said the wall collapse was “of major concern” and that parents had “subsequently been in touch to voice their fears”.

He said: “While it was incredibly fortunate that the wall came down outwith school hours when pupils and staff were not there, answers are still sought.

“I have been in contact with officials and we really need early sight of the structural engineers’ final report and a clear timetable going ahead for any consequent actions.”

A spokeswoman for Amey said the company was only involved in the school’s facilities management – such as providing catering and electrical maintenance – and not its construction. Miller Construction declined to comment.

A city spokeswoman said: “The cause of the damage is subject to an investigation carried out by a structural engineer on behalf of our PPP1 provider.”

alistair.grant@edinburghnews.com