Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  


Highland Council Major School Projects Progress Report

11th August 2023

At yesterday's (Thursday 10 August 2023) Housing and Property Committee, Members were updated on the progress of the ten major school projects, the actions taken and the revised programme dates for the proposed new Nairn Academy building.

Housing and Property Committee Chair, Cllr Glynis Campbell Sinclair said: "Despite the complexities of the current financial constraints the report highlights the immense work being undertaken to drive progress with all projects to design, pre-planning and build stage.

It is vital that whilst the Capital Programme is under review that work continues to allow all the major school projects to advance. The ‘Capital Major Project Whole Life' reporting has been very useful for Members as it sets out the whole life costs of the major projects along with "RAG" ratings in relation to the main criteria of Cost, Time and Scope.

“I would like to thank the Housing and Property team for all the hard work that has gone into each project stage and to the communities involved for their continuous engagement and understanding during this challenging time."

Construction work on the Tain Campus project, which is included in Phase 1 of the Scottish Government’s Learning Estate Investment Programme (LEIP), commenced in late September 2022 with an expected completion date of December 2024. The new Ness Castle Primary was completed in February 2023 and the design work is progressing on the new school buildings at Broadford Primary School and Nairn Academy, both of which are included in Phase 2 of LEIP.

One of the conditions of the Phase 2 LEIP funding award is that the buildings must be occupied by the end of 2025. However, the Council has made a formal request to the Scottish Government for an extension to the operational date for the new Nairn Academy building to August 2026 due to the time required to carry out a full review of the overall cost plan to bring the build cost within the proposed increased budget.

The Council agreed at its meeting in June 2022 that design and planning work should continue to progress on the major school projects at pre-construction stage that are listed below. The capital funding included in the one-year programme approved in March 2023 will allow the projects to be taken up to tender stage while awaiting the outcome of the review of the Council’s Capital Programme.

Beauly Primary School - New Build (LEIP Phase 3)
Charleston Academy - Extension/Refurbishment
Culloden Academy – Extension/Refurbishment
Dunvegan Primary School – New Build (LEIP Phase 3)
Park Primary School – New Build (LEIP Phase 3)

A funding bid for Phase 3 of LEIP was submitted to the Scottish Government in October 2022 for the following projects: replacement buildings at Beauly, Dunvegan and Park Primary Schools; a replacement building on a new site in Dingwall for St Clement’s School; and a building for the new Primary School at the Tornagrain development to the east of Inverness. It is not known when an announcement will be made by the Scottish Government.

Construction costs remains a significant pressure for the Council including the following:

General inflation/tender cost indices – rising oil and gas prices; material and labour shortages; the impact of various socio-economic factors and worldwide events; manufacturing and distribution constraints; local, national, and worldwide demand.

Extraordinary increases in costs of certain materials or products.
Local supply chain – limited number of sub-contractors in Highland for certain types of work or sizes of project.

Central belt supply chain – already busy so further inflated cost of working on Highland projects, effectively a higher cost location factor.

Risk management – contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers are all factoring in additional risk allowances to cover any further increases, particularly for projects with a longer construction period, thus exacerbating the overall position.

More stringent design and energy performance standards - this includes the adoption of the Passivhaus design principles for new build schools, such as the Tain 3-18 Campus, that are part of the LEIP programme.

There is also a requirement to work towards ambitious targets in relation to achieving Net Zero emissions and a reduction in Construction Embodied Carbon.

The full report is available here (Item 8)


Related Businesses


Related Articles

No Redundancies In Highland Council's 24/25 Budget But Job Reductions Over 3 Years
Highland councillors will meet on 29th February 2024 to agree the proposals set out in the papers published today.   There has been a long period of public consultation on the proposals and although there are unpalatable suggestions they will balance the books.  
Make No Mistake Highland Council Are Going to Make Significant Cuts For Next Two Years At Least
Over £100m investment programme proposed as part of 3-year budget Highland council are about to use significant amounts of reserves to cover shortfalls in the budget for 24/25 and possibly 25/26.   Despite pushing out big figures it disguises the cuts about to fall on Highland services.  
Primary Strategic Network in Education for Highland
A collaborative network of Head Teachers and Education Officers are working closely together with the goal of improving attainment and achievement in Highland primary schools.   Cllr John Finlayson, Education Chair said: "It is essential that we have strong, consultation and communication strategies in place and there is effective and ongoing collaboration between our schools and our central education service.  
Flights from Wick Airport - Uncertainty over future funding of Wick Aberdeen Service
The Highland Council is currently unable to confirm whether funding will be available to support the Wick-Aberdeen Public Service Obligation (PSO) after 31st March 2024.   The funding for the PSO is currently provided on the basis of £1.3m annually, with £1m committed by the Scottish Government and £0.3m committed by The Highland Council.  
Council Announces Thermal Pothole Repair Trial - Thurso One Of The Trial AreasThumbnail for article : Council Announces Thermal Pothole Repair Trial - Thurso One Of The Trial Areas
The Chair of The Highland Council's Economy and Infrastructure Committee has announced that a 3-week trial of a thermal process for pothole repairs will be taking place.   An external contractor, Thermal Road Repairs, has been appointed to undertake the trial before the end of the 2023/24 financial year.  
Community Regeneration Funding awarded to Caithness groups
Caithness Committee Members today (Monday 29 January 2024) considered and assessed applications submitted to the area's Community Regeneration Fund.   Community Regeneration Funding is an umbrella term for a number of funds that are available for communities/organisations to access in Highland.  
Roads In Caithness Will Get Worse Caithness Area Committee Admits As Funding Is Inadequate For 2024/25Thumbnail for article : Roads In Caithness Will Get Worse Caithness Area Committee Admits As Funding Is Inadequate For 2024/25
The Council at the Caithness Area Committee agree the roads budget for 2024/25 with exactly the same amount as for 2023/24.   Clearly with rapidly increasing costs this will come nowhere near to maintaining the roads to even the poor condition they are now in.  
PPP Accounting Flexibility To Be Considered - Short Term Benefit But Long-Term Pain
A briefing has been provided to all members of the Council on an accounting flexibility introduced by Scottish Government and available to Councils to utilise in 2022/23 or 2023/24.   A number of reports to Council in recent months have covered this topic, and a number of other Councils have utilised the flexibility in 2022/23 or are considering doing so in 2023/24.  
Highland Road Conditions Report - Thursday 18 January 2024 - Caithness Main Roads PassableThumbnail for article : Highland Road Conditions Report - Thursday 18 January 2024 - Caithness Main Roads Passable
The information provided is a summary of reports from operational staff and is intended to give a general indication of typical conditions in each area at a point in time.   It is not intended to imply that any individual route is entirely snow and ice free and drivers must be aware that conditions can change rapidly and make their own assessment of conditions for travelling.  
Thurso and Wick High Schools Closed on Friday 19th January
Weather is still hitting school transport services around the county.   Wick Unfortunately we have made the decision to close the school tomorrow, Friday 19th January, due to the ongoing snowfall and hazardous road conditions.