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Seven days a week for AHS construction phase

New AHS project manager Trevor Smith.

BUILDING work on the new Anderson High School is to be carried out seven days a week after planners agreed to vary the project’s construction hours to include Sundays.

Meanwhile, due to a slight delay in reaching “financial close” for the project, which also incorporates a new halls of residence, it is likely to be the end of May before work on the school itself can begin.

Council managers said it was not likely to lead to any change to the proposed completion date – which should see pupils moving into the school in autumn 2017.

Approval was unanimously granted at Wednesday’s meeting of Shetland Islands Council’s planning committee for construction work to take place between 10am and 4pm on Sundays.

The change will add 15 per cent more working time each week and should reduce the construction phase by up to 15 weeks.

If full advantage can be taken of the summer months, the bulk of earth work should be completed by the end of the summer and work using specialist cranes should be finished by the end of autumn.

New AHS project manager Trevor Smith said it was a “complex project” and the SIC is working closely with its partners – Hub North Scotland and the Scottish Futures Trust – with a focus on pinning down the finances by the end of May.

Preparatory work on surrounding paths and a new roundabout is already underway, and Smith said he hoped it would be possible to “mobilise the main contractor as soon as practicable” after the finances are finalised.

“We’re keen to make the most of the summer weather window and get moving as quickly as we can,” Smith told Shetland News.

An artist's impression of the east elevation of the new school.

He said seven day-a-week working would allow for specialist contractors to work more efficiently.

No objections have been received from Lerwick Community Council or nearby residents, but measures are being put in place to minimise the disruption.

Noisy activity such as rock-breaking is to be restricted to central areas of the site, away from residents at North Lochside and Bruce Crescent, on Sundays.

Smith said a noise management plan would be put in place to ensure the guideline level of 60 decibels is not exceeded. That will be monitored using noise-sensitive receptors placed next to homes close to the Clickimin site. 

The developers had asked for construction to start at 9am on Sundays, but planners stipulated it should be 10am. Work will take place between 7am and 7pm from Monday to Friday, and from 8am (an hour later than had been anticipated) to 5pm on Saturdays.

SIC political leader Gary Robinson’s motion to approve the variation to the construction hours was approved unanimously.

Planning officials’ report stated that it “would not be unreasonable to allow the developer to make efficient use of staffing resource, time and also daylight hours when available”.

Robinson said afterwards: “We’ve had reassurances that the noise will be kept to a minimum, and clearly the trade-off is that while they work the extra day, the whole project should be finished a bit sooner – so at the end of the day there’ll be less disruption for everyone.”