Over £800,000 to be spent on school gym roof after RAAC discovery

Crumbling concrete was identified in Castlehead High School's gym roof in October and work has now been given the green light by councillors.

More than £800,000 to be spent strengthening Castlehead High School gym roof after RAAC discovery LDRS

More than £800,000 is set to be spent on strengthening the gym’s roof at Castlehead High School in Paisley after the discovery of a potentially dangerous concrete.

Reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (RAAC) – a lightweight material that can be susceptible to failure when exposed to moisture – was identified at the Camphill facility in October.

A contract for the works – worth a sum of £825,752.57 excluding VAT – was given the green light by Renfrewshire Council’s finance, resources and customer services policy board on Thursday.

The deal will see contractor Hugh LS McConnell take on the project with the works scheduled to start in June.

Councillor Kenny MacLaren, an SNP representative for Paisley Northwest, said: “Although it’s a fairly hefty bill, we would obviously rather that than it not being safe or at risk of falling down.

“It’s a high amount but it’s far better that than there being any chance of injury to someone using the facilities.

“I’m glad the contract has now been approved and hopefully the school can get back to functioning normally as soon as possible.

“There’s still an element of disruption for pupils and clubs that use the gym, regardless of the alternative arrangements in place, so it will be good to see this work done.”

A report to the board explained: “This procurement exercise is for the appointment of a suitably experienced contractor to provide roof strengthening works at Castlehead High School in Paisley, Renfrewshire.

“The works comprise of the installation of additional steelwork within the gym areas of the school to provide support in place of existing RAAC concrete within the ceiling/roof space.

“This will include renewing lighting, and taking down and reinstating main heating and water pipework for structural installation.”

Councillors on the board have authorised the head of corporate governance to award the contract with a sum of £825,752.57 excluding VAT. A contingency spend of £82,575.26 was also rubber-stamped.

The date of possession of the site is expected to be Monday, June 3, with the works due to take 17 weeks. However, this will be confirmed in the letter of acceptance.

Chris Dalrymple, the council’s head of facilities and property management, told the board: “The gyms have been closed since we found RAAC.

“We did a risk-based approach and, while we did not believe that there was any imminent danger of it falling down, following checks, discussions with the Scottish Government, a risk-based approach, we felt it was best to close the three gyms and the fitness suite, so nobody is currently using those gyms.”

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