£30million Aberdeen Art Gallery project delayed for at least 12 months – just as it was supposed to open

The construction schedule for the £30m redevelopment of Aberdeen Art Gallery is set to be extended – even though the project was originally scheduled for completion before the end of this year.

Contractors responsible for the project are in ongoing discussions with Aberdeen City Council to confirm a completion date for the project, with the Gallery now expected to reopen in late 2018 or early 2019.

A report to the Finance, Policy and Resources committee on 1 December will outline the revised schedule, provide further detail on the issues which have led to the extension of the programme and potential budget implications. An opening date of late 2017 had been anticipated when the project began.

Councillor Marie Boulton, Aberdeen City Council’s culture lead, said: ‘High level discussions with the main contractor for the Aberdeen Art Gallery redevelopment, McLaughlin and Harvey, are ongoing to finalise a revised schedule for the project.

‘Current indications are that the contractor will conclude work on site in the first quarter of 2018. Following the handover from the main contractor a further fit out programme is required before the collections can be returned and the building is prepared for opening to the public.

‘The final schedule is subject to the ongoing discussions but it is anticipated opening will be delayed until late 2018 or early 2019.

How Aberdeen Art Gallery will look when its £30million refurbishment is complete. (Picture: Hoskins Architects)

‘This is an important project for Aberdeen and it is imperative that what will be a lasting legacy for the city is completed to the exacting standards required for a development of this significance – but a delay of this nature is unacceptable. It is important the issues with the delivery of the project are fully examined and acted upon.

‘Measures have already been taken, with the appointment of specialist project manager Faithful+Gould to represent the council in negotiations with the contractor.

‘With any building of this age and complexity there will always be complications which can impact on the programme, and that has been the case with Aberdeen Art Gallery. However, we are in discussions with the contractor regarding the circumstances of the extension to the programme.’

The Finance, Policy and Resources committee will also consider an update on the Provost Skene’s House project.

The building had been scheduled to reopen as a visitor attraction in 2017 but, following a condition survey prior to work commencing, options for the refurbishment are to be considered.

Councillor Boulton said: ‘Protecting Aberdeen’s built heritage is a priority for the council and it is important that the latest information is taken into account.’