All councils must learn lessons to maintain the safety of public buildings following Edinburgh school wall collapse

03 April 2018
City of Edinburgh Council report on schools

In a report out today, the Accounts Commission highlights important lessons for all councils following the collapse of a wall at Oxgangs Primary School in 2016.

There were serious faults in procurement, design and construction which also then led to the large scale closure of other schools in Edinburgh.

Similar faults to those identified in the construction of Oxgangs Primary School were also found in other City of Edinburgh Council buildings, including libraries, community centres and care homes.

The Commission's report follows its consideration of the circumstances surrounding the wall collapse at Oxgangs Primary School in south Edinburgh in January 2016. The report emphasises the importance of all councils undertaking regular, comprehensive structural risk assessments and inspections on public buildings to ensure the safety of service users.

Where a council employs a company to provide construction services, it's vital that it puts in place appropriate checks and controls.

The Accounts Commission recognises the substantial amount of learning already taken forward as a result of this case, but says it is vital that all councils have a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities of those involved in the control and assurance of the construction of public buildings.

Graham Sharp, Chair, Accounts Commission said:

"The City of Edinburgh Council responded quickly and comprehensively to the wall collapse at Oxgangs Primary School. However, all councils in Scotland must ensure public buildings in their care are regularly checked and appropriately maintained.

"While reduced resources mean councils must make difficult decisions about service provision, they should  have an appropriate level of expertise to deliver and safely maintain buildings. People must have confidence in the safety and integrity of public buildings."