West Lothian Council facing multi-million pound bill to fix roofing problems
The College of Mayor and Aldermen also supported a motion to point out to other municipalities the potential problems that local authorities may face with Siporex.
After the discovery of Siporex – a form of aerated concrete that became popular in the late 1960s – emergency surveys of council properties were conducted in the roof of the Lanthorn Center in Dedridge, Livingston.
The same material was used to build the now-condemned housing estate Deans South in Livingston.
In a report to the Executive Estates, officers said work started hard on the Lanthorn and two other buildings, the Whitburn Community Center and Balbardie Primary school in Bathgate.
Collectively, that repair work alone will cost nearly £6 million.
All buildings mentioned in the report are public spaces – schools or community locations.
Three buildings where research has suggested that stabilization work is not necessary because the Siporex found is structurally redundant are Knightsridge and Riverside Primary Schools in Livingston and Windyknowe Primary in Bathgate.
Three buildings inspected every six months are Stoneyburn Community Centre, parts of Fauldhouse Partnership and parts of St Kentigern’s Academy in Blackburn.
In any case, the Siporex has only been identified in parts of the roofs, rather than in the entire structure.
Conservative Chris Horne said: “This is going to be expensive. What are the implications for the rest of the capital program?”
Head of Finance, Donald Forrest, said the repairs were part of the existing capital program. For any future work needed, the council, with others, explored options for more flexible financing from Holyrood.
Deputy SNP group leader, Councilor Frank Anderson, asked if other buildings had been inspected, including council buildings used by the third sector, and suggested that the former Almondbank library in Craigshill should be included.
Estates manager, Paul Kettrick said: “We are focused on the municipal estate at this stage. Almond Bank would be part of a second phase of investigations of our wider estate.”
The investigations carried out are in three phases: assessment of drawings where available, visual examination of buildings and structural examination to detect cracks or water spots, which are two main concerns.