Faults in procurement and construction led to Scottish school defects, report says

The exterior wall at Oxgangs Primary School in Edinburgh, part of which collapsed in 2016.

A new report has found that schools, libraries, community centres and care homes in Edinburgh had similar defects to those found at a primary school where a wall collapsed. 

The findings, published by the Accounts Commission, said all councils in Scotland need to ensure regular inspections are carried out and highlights important lessons for local authorities following the collapse of a wall at Oxgangs Primary School in 2016.

Part of an external wall at the south Edinburgh school collapsed during a storm in January 2016. A total 17 schools across Edinburgh were then forced to close amid concerns over building standards with 7,600 pupils affected.

The commission's report follows its consideration of the circumstances surrounding the incident and has led them to warn any council employing a company to provide construction services that it's vital that it puts in place appropriate checks and controls.

A previous report by professor John Cole found it was only down to timing and luck that no deaths or injuries occurred at Oxgangs Primary two years ago. 

Graham Sharp, chairman of the 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."

The watchdog said that by the end of January this year, 154 properties had been checked in the city, with 19 found to have "issues similar to those identified at Oxgangs School".

A spokeswoman for the City of Edinburgh Council said: "We welcome the Accounts Commission's report, which addresses the lessons to be learned by all local authorities following the collapse of a wall at Oxgangs Primary. The safety of the public is of utmost importance to the City of Edinburgh Council and we fully acknowledge the need for regular, comprehensive structural assessments of public buildings and are in the process of delivering a series of actions identified by Professor John Cole in an independent report into the closure of Edinburgh schools in 2016."

If you would like to contact Ryan Tute about this, or any other story, please email