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Cityfibre Fined £35K for “serious failures” with Road Works Safety in Scotland

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017 (12:39 pm) - Score 1,481

The Scottish Road Works Commissioner has fined fibre optic network builder Cityfibre £35,000 due to a “number of serious failures to comply with road works legislation in Scotland,” such as the one that occurred in Edinburgh (here) after a contractor sat exposed in a manhole on a busy street.

The offences, which are said to have “occurred primarily” in the Edinburgh area, included endangering road workers and the general public, non-compliance with the reinstatement specification, working without valid notification on the Scottish Road Works Register, a lack of qualifications and not co-operating with the City of Edinburgh Council.

Most damningly of all the SRWC warned that there had been “no significant improvement” in Cityfibre’s performance, which is despite various meetings and the company being monitored and scrutinised over the last year. The Edinburgh Council has recently been particularly scathing of the company, not least due to the rising number of reinstatement (street works) jobs that needed to be re-done in the area.

Angus Carmichael, Scottish Road Works Commissioner, said:

“The performance of CityFibre has been monitored and scrutinised over the last year. Staff have also met with the company on two occasions. In addition to CityFibre’s annual performance review, performance reports have been issued on a quarterly basis and updated statistics were available to the company on the Register throughout the period in question for the company to monitor. Despite this, there had been no significant improvement in the performance of the company.

A particular incident in Edinburgh on 27 February 2017, which could have resulted in a fatality, further demonstrated CityFibre’s lack of compliance with road works legislation. The company has subsequently carried out an investigation into the incident, the findings of which confirm my conclusion that they have systematically failed to meet their statutory duty to co-operate under Section 119 of the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991. In view of their clear performance failures, I am left with no option other than to apply a financial penalty.

As the failures are of a very serious nature, compromising both safety and quality, I have decided to impose a significant penalty of £35,000 to send a clear message to all organisations undertaking road works that poor performance is unacceptable.”

Cityfibre has since provided the SRWC with an Improvement Plan and confirmed that they are “committed to improving their performance and complying with the legislation in future.” We should add that the bulk of complaints relate to some of the third-party contractors that the company has hired, such as KNNS.

Meanwhile the operator continues to extend their existing Gigabit capable Fibre-to-the-Premise (FTTP) broadband and Ethernet network in Edinburgh (here), as well as similar work in other Scottish cities like Glasgow etc. We have asked for a comment and are awaiting a reply.

UPDATE 1:13pm

The full response from Cityfibre has now been provided.

Greg Mesch, CEO at CityFibre, said:

“As a builder of the UK’s next generation of digital infrastructure, we pride ourselves on maintaining one of the lowest failure rates in the industry. It is for this reason that we were so disappointed in the reinstatement issues resulting from the speed of our full fibre rollout in Edinburgh.

We have been working closely with the Scottish Roadworks Commissioner, City of Edinburgh Council and our contractors to deliver significant improvement while construction progresses on Edinburgh’s world-class Gigabit City network. Our plans are already seeing strong results with a 91% pass rate recorded for Category A inspections in the first quarter of this year.

In addition to this improvement we have also committed to investing a further £35,000 in additional health and safety training for all our project staff and contractors across our 40-plus city footprint. We aim always to deliver the swift, safe and thorough construction work our customers expect.

We are very proud of what we’ve achieved in Edinburgh in just 12 months – the delivery of over 150Km of full fibre infrastructure to hundreds of schools, libraries, council offices and businesses, completely transforming the digital capabilities of the city. We will learn, we will improve and we will continue to deliver the infrastructure this country so desperately needs.”

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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2 Responses
  1. Avatar Billy says:

    What’s with the spurious link to El Reg?

    1. Mark Jackson Mark Jackson says:

      Some names are designed to be automatically linked by the CMS when spotted and in this case it’s clearly gotten confused 🙂 .

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