Wednesday 20 February 2019

Second round of investigations underway at five schools following structural safety concerns

Ardgillan Community College. Photo: www.doug.ie
Ardgillan Community College. Photo: www.doug.ie
Katherine Donnelly

Katherine Donnelly

A second round of investigations is getting underway at five schools caught up in the controversy over building safety in the autumn.

The five are the first in a group of 22 that will  undergo similar detailed assessments to decide what permanent remediation works are required, according  to the Department of Education.

Precautionary measures were implemented in the 22 schools in October, following an initial round of  structural safety assessments at  a total of 42 schools built by a single contractor, the Co Tyrone-based Western Building Systems (WBS).

John Sisk & Son has been appointed to conduct the opening-up and testing works to facilitate the investigations, while Ove Arup and Partners Ireland Ltd will  carry out the investigations and design the permanent engineering solutions for each individual school.

The first five schools to undergo the more detailed assessments are  Presentation Convent NS, Portarligton, Co Laois,  Carrigaline, ETNS, Cork, Scoil Chaitlin Maude, NS,  Tallaght, Dublin,  Gaelscoil Eiscir, Lucan, Dublin  and St Paul’s NS, Ratoath, Co Meath..

Investigation work will take place at weekends to prevent disruption to the schools. A schedule for investigations in the remainder of the 22 schools will be finalised when assessments of the first five are completed.

The second-phase investigations includes Ardgillan Community College, Balbrigggan, Co Dublin, part of which remains closed.

Precautionary measures will remain in place at the schools until permanent solutions have been implemented.

Meanwhile, building investigations in schools that did not require precautionary measures will be scheduled for the 2019 summer break.

WBS has consistently maintained that each of the 42 schools  was “previously certified for completion as being free from defects and suitable for use by the Department and its employed professionals”. 

The Department of  Education  has countered this assertion by stating that a  certificate of completion is not a certificate of compliance with building control regulations.

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