New Peebles High School almost £11m over budget

Saturday August 26th 2023

New Peebles High School

How the new Peebles High School is set to look.


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Paul Kelly

Spiralling costs have seen the budget for building the new Peebles High School rise by almost £11m, a new report reveals.

In the summer of 2022 the project was set a revised cost of £50.1 million.

But when members of Scottish Borders Council meet on Thursday they will be informed that the new figure is estimated at £61m.

Rising inflation and ever-increasing construction costs are among the reasons for the hike.

When Scottish Borders Council’s Planning and Building Standards Committee unanimously approved the state-of-the-art building in July last year the cost of the project was £46m.

However, the increased building costs are not unprecedented. The budget for the new Galashiels Academy community campus has risen by £4.345m and the new Earlston Primary School by £4m.

The existing Peebles High School, which suffered extensive damage due to a fire in November 2019, is being demolished and a new community campus built on land previously used as school playing fields.

A report to full council, approved by John Curry, SBC’s director for Infrastructure & Environment, says: “During 2022, construction inflation was reported in double figures through national indicators such as the Building Cost Information Service (BCIS).

“The project team includes external cost advisers and in the summer of 2022, the project was reporting a revised cost of £50.1M.

“This was included within the budget setting process through to the approval of the Capital Investment Plan on 23 February, 2023.

“However, several of the key package returns have shown a cost increase beyond that which had been allowed for through the inflationary increase in 2022.

“Given volatile construction market conditions, the overall tender return figure by BAM Construction Ltd is some £10.9M above the budget included within the February 2023 Capital Investment Plan.

“The project team has undertaken a review of specifications and materials within the project to see if changes can be made. At the time of writing this report, this process continues.”

The aim is for the new school to be fully operational by the end of 2025.

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