'Painfully slow progress' over defects at £8m swimming pool

DEFECTS: Progress on leisure centre is still being made, says Cllr Patrick Cooke

DEFECTS: Progress on leisure centre is still being made, says Cllr Patrick Cooke

First published in News
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Dorset Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Dorchester reporter

DEFECTS remain with the building of an £8million sports centre nearly two years after the keys were handed over for the facility.

West Dorset District Council’s efficiency scrutiny committee has been looking into outstanding issues with the Dorchester Sports Centre, which opened in October 2012, and is confident almost all will be resolved shortly.

A report considered by the committee stated that when construction contractor Leadbitter handed over the building in July 2012 there was a 12-month ‘defects liability period’ during which the contractor was responsible for any defects that were identified.

That period came to an end in July last year, however the report states that it was not formally signed off as many of the defects identified had yet to be resolved.

It said ‘some progress’ had now been made in resolving a number of the outstanding issues but listed a number of areas that were yet to be fully resolved.

They included gas supply, uneven drainage from the small pool and water seepage as well as a number of other areas listed as ‘minor issues’.

Dorset County Council and West Dorset District Council have now jointly appointed Deloitte, which acted as project managers for the construction contract, to represent the authorities in negotiations with Leadbitter – which has now been acquired by construction firm Bouyges – over the resolution of the defects.

The report states: “It is not uncommon for facilities as structurally and mechanically complex as swimming pools to have many issues to address and for it to take some time to resolve.

“However, officers from the county council and district council are working with Deloitte to resolve the majority of defects by July 2014.”

The district council’s head of leisure and commissioning Tony Hurley said that almost all of the issues were likely to be resolved shortly, with the only outstanding one that of the gas supply.

He added that the centre remained popular and none of the issues outstanding impacted on the day to day running of the facility.

Mr Hurley said: “The centre continues to operate and as a user you wouldn’t notice the problems.

“It’s just a matter of resolving these issues as quickly as possible.”

Cllr Patrick Cooke said: “Progress I think has been made but it’s still painfully slow on the issues that are unresolved.

“The issue of the gas supply and the boilers is the most painful one of all.”

The leisure centre also suffered damage to its roof during the storms in February, which caused a section of the main pool to be closed for several weeks but it has now been fully reopened.

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