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Contractors to report on construction delays to Edinburgh concert hall

Contractors are due to issue a report to the council by the end of this month outlining what facilities will be available at Edinburgh's Usher Hall from October 2008 after a raft of construction problems caused major delays.

Construction works at Usher Hall in Edinburgh started in March last year to improve and expand existing facilities including a new wing which will house a cafe/bar and new box office facilities.

Construction plans were updated in November last year following the discovery of a range of difficulties with the construction site and these problems have now led to further delays in progress.

A dig into the basement in September 2007 revealed that foundations would need to be reinforced to support the new glass wing and the finding of unexpected rock formation resulted in structural engineers ordering deeper pilings to ensure the integrity of the building.

The project was adapted to take account of the situation but contractors now say that geological conditions and building structure issues are causing continuing delays. A report on the new programme is due out at the end of April.

Work will stop on a temporary basis for the 2008 Edinburgh International Festival as it did in 2007, but the delays have seen the Scottish Chamber Orchestra switch venues for their autumn season and the Royal Scottish National Opera have put bookings on hold for the 2008-9 season awaiting the contractors report.

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