Saturday, 9 April 2011

Labour school building waste worth five Carriers

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.


Demetrius said...

As someone who once was heavily involved in local authority buildings thirty years and more ago we managed to put up buildings quickly and effectively without any of the nonsense going on recently and with hugely less oncosts. What has happened is criminal in every sense.

Woodsy42 said...

My son, who has no particular experience of architecture, often works in schools.
Recently, after a commission in a local town, he was moved to note that what had once been the girl's school had been replaced some years ago. It was now dirty, leaking, scruffy and in very poor repair.
What had been the boy's school was still housed in the original Victorian building. He said the building was in impeccable repair, the floors were clean and polished, everything worked and it had a wonderful character.

Gordo said...

Don't think it is just corruption or inefficiency. A lot of it is done as deliberate cultural and financial vandalism by the Frankfurt School human viruses.

Dharush said...

“The review, which was headed by the head of group operations at Dixons, Sebastian James”
You must pardon my cynicysm, but when commisioning an independant report is it usual to employ one of your old pals, or as the Mail put it “cronies”.