Edinburgh Trams design team ‘went round in circles’

An Edinburgh tram at Haymarket
An Edinburgh tram at Haymarket
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TRAM designers ended up going “round in circles” as they struggled to get final approval on the project, the Edinburgh Tram inquiry has heard.

Jason Chandler, then Parson’s Brinckerhoff’s Project Manager for Delivery of Design for the Tram Civil Infrastructure for Edinburgh Trams Project, gave evidence to the inquiry yesterday and spoke of delays from the preliminary design being submitted at the end of June 2006.

He said that they ended up waiting almost six months for comments from tram firm Tie when they needed the go-ahead to work on detailed designs within weeks.

Later in his evidence, he said: “As the designer, it was pointed out to us by many people from CEC and Tie that it was our responsibility to deliver a design that was acceptable and could be approved by not just CEC and Tie, but all of the other stakeholders of which there were many.

“What I’m stating here is without that collective determination to deliver the tram system in the timescales that we were faced with, we as the designer just (didn’t have) the power to force third parties to accept the design, and because many of those third parties had differing requirements and different sets of objectives as their individual business, for example, a lot of them conflicted.

“We just – we struggled with those conflicting requirements. I would have expected to see far more drive and leadership to try and get us into a position where we could secure those approvals and consents.

“As the designer just producing option after option, hoping that eventually we would find one that was acceptable to everybody, was incredibly challenging, and sometimes there were mutually exclusive sets of requirements from the developers, the Council themselves, tie, that we really struggled to overcome and come to an acceptable solution.”