The long-awaited re-opening of Rothesay Pavilion is now due to take place in September, five weeks later than planned, a new report has revealed.
The refurbishment of the iconic building has been hit by delays as a result of weather and construction issues, which mean it will miss its target of opening by Wednesday, July 31.
A report for a meeting of Argyll and Bute Council’s Bute and Cowal area committee now lists the Pavilion’s scheduled opening date as Tuesday, September 3 – even though barely half of the work has been completed.
The report by project manager Jonathan Miles says the project remains within its £10.6 million budget, but has been labelled complex and challenging due to the location, design, age and unique characteristics of the building. Mr Miles’ report also reveals that asbestos was found after a part of the ceiling in the Pavilion’s main hall collapsed during construction work.
Mr Miles said: “Seventy-nine per cent of the contract duration has expired and with only 52 per cent of the work completed to date the main contractor remains behind programme.
“This has been primarily caused due to works e.g. undercroft excavation, roof replacement, cast stone repairs and cast stone coping replacement, not having progressed at the same speed, due to weather and complexity challenges.
“It should be noted that there was a marked drop in overall performance during the quarter as noted above.
“This was due in part to the weather impacting on external roof, stone replacement works and partial collapse of the auditorium perimeter ceiling which restricted access to certain parts of the building.
“With regard to the ceiling, a comprehensive survey has been undertaken to understand the root cause of the collapse, including sample analysis which has confirmed the presence of asbestos.
“Weather has continued to interrupt external envelope works both to the roof and wall elevations. For example, only 64 per cent of roof works have been completed.
“Despite the main contractors’ best endeavours, maintaining the water tightness and integrity of the structure has been challenging, with a consequential impact on internal fit-out progress.
“An inspection of the main hall and stage floors has noted water penetration, and a follow up specialist survey will be undertaken, subject to entry into the hall following asbestos removal works.”
Mr Miles also reported that the Rothesay Pavilion Charity was looking unlikely to meet its fundraising target of £400,000 by the end of June. It currently has £132,000 secured, with a forecast total of £298,000 being in the coffers within the target time.
Argyll and Bute Council may be able to step in to make up the shortfall – but that will depend on a decision taken by its members.
Mr Miles added: “Whilst the charity is using its best endeavours to try and achieve its capital contribution target, it is becoming evident the charity will not close the gap by June 2019.
“The council previously agreed to underwrite the charity’s capital fundraising target pending successful funding applications.
“In view of the forecast shortfall the council will need to make a decision to release budget to sustain the charity until the building construction contract is complete.”
Rothesay Pavilion declined the opportunity to comment. However, an Argyll and Bute Council spokesperson said: Work continues on what will be a fantastic asset for Bute, with everyone involved in the Rothesay Pavilion project determined to ensure it’s a facility the community can be proud of.
“The complex nature of this scale of project on an A-listed building nearing 100-years-old means surprises can arise and cause a delay. Specifically, asbestos in the existing main hall ceiling is in far worse condition than surveys led us to believe. As a result, we’ve had to appoint specialist contractors to remove it, as opposed to undertaking localised repairs as was previously envisaged.
“While this has a knock-on effect for the project overall, the safety of future users of the building must come first.
“We thank the community for their patience and understanding, and we look forward to delivering a sustainable and much-loved Pavilion for Rothesay.”