In 1982, the McData report on the construction of Wester Hailes was published, reported on by the Sentinel. It confirmed what many of the residents had already been highlighting, that there were serious building faults.
McData were an independent body of technical consultants from Paisley and had been commissioned to examine the structural techniques that had been used to build the estate. The resulting report listed a long and damning series of building defects and design faults in great detail. Issues highlighted included
- Leaking balconies in Dumbryden
- The failure of retaining walls in Murrayburn and Westburn
- Falling harling in Park and Drive, and Westburn
- Loose roof tiles in Wester Hailes drive
- Rotting floors in the Calders
- Flammable nature of both the glass reinforced plastic sheeting forming the screens in the drying areas and the vertical PVC pipes in the drainage systems throughout Wester Hailes.
The report also picked up on the Bison Development design of the high-rise flats, indicating that these might be susceptible to structural faults in the future due to concerns over the precast slab construction. High rise flats constructed in this way had already been demolished in Manchester, Liverpool and London due to structural instability.
Altogether, it was estimated that the work required to put right these faults would cost in the region of £5 million. This led inevitably to a major political row over who was responsible for paying this bill. And this led, again inevitably, to delays in putting matters right. Budgets remained an issue as the district council faced huge bills for major remedial repairs and attempts were made to phase the repairs programme over a number of years. This was not popular with the local community who felt their previous complaints should have been acted on sooner.
Local groups also felt that their voices had not been heard during the whole investigation into the structural faults. The Sentinel carried out its own survey and in a future post, we’ll bring you the results of this.