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Shoddy Schools and Fancy Finance

Scotland’s award-winning architect Malcolm Fraser offers a critique of the failings of the government’s Private Finance Initiative (PFI) for public buildings. Earlier this year several schools in Edinburgh had to be closed when major structural faults were discovered. Walls had – or had threatened to – collapse because header-ties used to hold the walls together had not been used.


How could such a basic error occur and who was complicit in what could have been a catastrophic and life-threatening error of quality control? In this provocation Malcolm Fraser – who sat on the Scottish government’s Design Review panel – looks at the other failings of slapdash, cheap-to-build cookie-cutter schools and hospitals sighted away from the communities they’re supposed to serve. Why are sturdy Victorian buildings abandoned rather than repaired or refurbished? In this PFI world is education and health being sacrificed for financial profits?


How did things come to this pretty pass and who is to blame? And, more importantly, what can be done about this rotten system. In Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design this is a timely publication that lifts the lid on who has most to gain from major public projects and why the problem has to be solved, and how.