Scottish parliament building defects to cost £49k

Margo MacDonald blamed the 'rush to finish' the building on the string of problems it has suffered. Picture: PA

Margo MacDonald blamed the 'rush to finish' the building on the string of problems it has suffered. Picture: PA

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SCOTTISH Parliament bosses have been left with a £49,000 bill after experts found cladding panels on the Holyrood building had not been fitted properly.

Two of the granite panels came loose in high winds in December 2011 and five others were removed as a precaution.

Now a report has revealed that a detailed inspection of thousands of panels across the parliament campus uncovered a range of defects, which it has blamed on poor workmanship during construction.

But the firm which carried out the work has since gone bust, leaving the parliament unable to recover the costs.

Independent Lothians MSP Margo MacDonald blamed the “rush to finish” the building in time for its official opening in October 2004.

She said: “I’m not surprised at this. There was a cast of thousands involved at the end. We said at the time there were bound to be things that showed up over the course of time.

“There was a lot of pressure to finish because the Queen was coming on a set date.”

She added: “If it’s because there has been poor workmanship and perhaps the wrong materials, they could go at any time.”

The parliament report said the panels removed in December 2011 had not been installed in accordance with the design and a full technical inspection was ordered of all 8600 exterior cladding panels across the complex.

Remedial works were carried out but Watson Stonecraft Ltd, which installed the cladding panels, went into liquidation and was dissolved in 2012.

Lothians Labour MSP Kezia Dugdale said taxpayers were being left to pick up the bill for yet another problem with the £414 million building.

She said: “Had this company still been going, I hope the parliament would have pursued it vigorously, but the focus must be on making sure the building is safe – and it seems that comes at a price.”

A parliament spokeswoman said the cost of the work had been met “from within existing resources”.

iswanson@edinburghnews.com