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Remedial works on 22 schools with structural issues begin tomorrow, says minister

The remedial works will be carried out over the summer period with all schools expected to re-open as normal for the new term in September.

Tyrellstown Educate Together, one of the schools affected by the structural issues
Tyrellstown Educate Together, one of the schools affected by the structural issues
Image: Sam Boal

A REMEDIATION PROGRAMME for schools identified as having structural defects last year will begin tomorrow, Education Minister Joe McHugh has said. 

It follows a two-week consultation with parents and principals of the 22 schools built by Western Building Systems (WBS), and which were identified as having structural issues last October. 

The remedial works will be carried out over the summer period with all schools expected to re-open as normal for the new term in September. 

Structural remediation will commence in 14 schools initially as schools close for the summer holidays, a statement said. 

“The time-tabling of works and arrangements for contractors to be on site have been designed to ensure all schools can re-open as normal at the end of the summer holidays,” McHugh said.

Works on the remaining eight schools are set to commence following this and the department confirmed any works not finished before the new term will be completed outside of school hours. 

Students and teachers in some of the schools were forced to move classes and use classrooms in nearby schools as a result of the safety concerns last November. 

“Safety remains our number one priority,” McHugh said, adding “we targeted the summer holidays to get as much of the structural work done as we can, so that the precautionary measures can be removed from the schools as soon as the permanent works are completed.”

He added: “I am fully aware of the difficulties that this issue has caused for principals, teachers, parents and pupils as they go about their day to day business.

“I am glad that we have now reached the stage where we can implement works that will enable the schools to return to a normal school environment as quickly as possible.”

WBS schools

The department confirmed a further 17 schools built by WBS will be subject to detailed structural investigations which did not require initial precautionary measures. 

These will take place alongside the remedial works carried out at the other 22 schools. 

The Minister also said that he was commissioning an independent review of current practices in the Design and Build model for the delivery of school buildings – or other similar public buildings – internationally, and that he would be announcing the organisation to carry out this work shortly.

“This approach will be a precursor to a broader review of the Department’s D&B programme,” he said. 

“I have always made it clear that I am committed to a full review of the Department’s Design and Build programme. 

The broader review will take place when the legal process has been completed,” he added. 

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