De­sign prob­lems

The Scotsman - - Perspective / Letters To The Editor -

Set­ting aside the ques­tion of whether it should have been per­mit­ted at all, the fu­ture re­silience of the Cairn­gorm Fu­nic­u­lar Rail­way was called into ques­tion over 20 years ago when de­sign de­ci­sions were taken by High­lands and Is­lands En­ter­prise. We need to stop tak­ing de­ci­sions for short-term fi­nan­cial rea­sons and base de­sign choices on po­ten­tial whole-life costs.

The orig­i­nal de­sign for the sup­port struc­ture was in steel, which is the norm in high al­ti­tudes, but to re­duce the cap­i­tal cost this was changed to re­in­forced and pre-stressed con­crete. Con­se­quently, the High­land Coun­cil, as plan­ning au­thor­ity, most likely based on con­cern from Scot­tish Nat­u­ral Her­itage over the ex­panse of grey con­crete, spec­i­fied an ex­posed ag­gre­gate fin­ish which al­lowed eas­ier ingress of mois­ture, thus ac­cel­er­at­ing struc­tural de­te­ri­o­ra­tion.

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