West Lothian Council facing multi-million pound bill to fix roofing problems

After the discovery of Siporex, emergency surveys of municipal properties were conducted.

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.

Sign Up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cutting through the noise

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.

The engineering report highlighted: “The advantages over precast concrete units were that it is relatively lightweight, which facilitated transportation, lifting and handling and reduced the load on the supporting structure/foundations. In addition, it had good thermal properties and good fire resistance.

“The disadvantages are that they are prone to moisture and water ingress, which can promote corrosion of the embedded rebar.”

A message from the editor:

Thanks for reading this article. We depend on your support more than ever as the change in consumer habits caused by the coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

Comments are closed.

200return