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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Finding fault

The BBC report that cracks have appeared for a second time in the oak desks used by AMs in the Senedd debating chamber. Apparently, six of the desks are suffering from cracks in the wood.

It would be nice to report that this cracking was as a result of members pounding the woodwork as part of a passionate debate on the burning issues of the day, but alas that is not the case. Still, at least it is not going to cost the public purse anything to fix as we are still under guarantee.

I was quite amused by the very defensive comments of Maureen Kelly Owen, a past president of Royal Society of Architects in Wales. She told the BBC that the desks difficulty was typical of the "teething problems" any large, design-led building could expect.

She said: "You could build an unadventurous, cavity-wall building, totally unexciting and lacking in innovation, and you would get one that would never leak, and never move, but it would be so dead boring that architecture would never move on."

My experience is that even unadventurous, cavity-wall buildings have teething problems when they are first built. Even old buildings have 'issues'. I live in an early twentieth century terraced house which is developing cracks in the plaster due to the movement of the roof when the wind blows. This latest problem with the Senedd is nothing to do with the architecture but with the quality of the workmanship.

Is she really saying that if you experiment and build adventurous and innovative buildings then you are going to suffer from leaks and other problems? Perhaps, Ms Owen should stop digging now.
Minor fault but:

AMs were told the desk faults had been fixed, so the new problems should not have happened

So whoever told you the fauts were fixed were either lying or incompetent or both.
This are of course different faults with different desks but essentially the same cause I suspect.
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