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More roof flaws exposed at Scottish Parliament

News

MORE EVIDENCE of apparent sub-standard workmanship on the Scottish Parliament debating chamber roof emerged this week.

A photograph taken in May 2005 and seen by NCE this week appears to show at least one missing bolt in a stainless steel node.

The node is some distance from the node connection that failed last month.

Two weeks ago, original structural engineer Arup blamed botched installation of fixing bolts for causing the laminated oak strut to swing free from its node in March (NCE 9 March).

The chamber has been closed ever since.

Arup refused to comment on the photograph or confirm the identity of those responsible for checking that work on the roof met the client's specification.

Scottish Parliament records have also revealed that overtime working on the roof erection was authorised by the Parliament's finance committee in late 2003 in a successful attempt to catch up to programme.

Parliament sources confirmed this week that there was concern at the time that the rush to complete the project could lead to corners being cut and a breakdown in quality control.

Last Friday Arup revealed plans to temporarily fix the roof so that MSPs can return into the chamber as soon as possible. If the Health & Safety Executive and independent consultant Atkins approve, tensioned webbing straps will be used to secure 15 struts against possible load reversals that would subject connection bolts to tension (see diagram).

During the two month Parliamentary summer recess a permanent solution yet to be detailed will be applied. In its report Arup said: 'In the long term, further members are required to carry tension? it will be necessary to check each of the bolt fixings.'

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