Sebastian James, group operations director at Dixons, has just produced a report for the government on the Building Schools for the Future programme, and unsurprisingly he agrees almost exactly with the points I made here at the beginning of March (BSF: The value of piss-poor design).
I said "The cost of this architectural Onanism is vast. Billions. There are few BSF schools that couldn't have been built at half the cost with a life of 60 years and a tried and proven layout; the old standard layouts produced by the London County Council architect's department need only minor tweaks to work in the digital age."
James says as much as 30 per cent of the total money spent could have been saved, that BSF did not provide consistent quality, or low cost, and that schools were created to 'bespoke' designs and calls for future new buildings to be based on 'a clear set of standardised drawings'.
However, contrary to what the poor muppet at the Mail thinks, this won't result in 'all schools looking the same'. The constraints and geometry of the site, exposure, orientation and location factors will determine the envelope, and varieties of local materials are available for the walls and roof. Standardised drawings allow for a whole raft of permutations.
The point is this; Labour committed £55bn to BSF with no oversight. Whether James' 30% of this was wasted or my figure of 50% (which I think is closer), it is a matter of criminal malfeasance and incompetence and entirely symptomatic of Labour's unfitness to govern even a whelk stall. And the permanent secretary at the Education Department at the time should be hung in chains from the Tower for such monstrous waste rather then being knighted and having his mouth stuffed with pension gold.