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Building material was 'just like Aero'.

THE dire condition of the 'Siporex' houses in Deans South is the grim legacy of the rush to build new houses in the 1960s and 1970s.

Deans South was one of the first housing estates built by quango Livingston Development Corporation in 1965 whose housing stock was taken over 30 years later by West Lothian Council.

The builders name is buried in the files of the corporation and may never be found.

Dr Stirling Howieson, a senior lecturer in building and design at Strathclyde University, was astonished to be told the material had been used in the houses.

He said: 'I've carried our thousands of surveys over decades and never come across Siporex.

' It means the blocks are lighter and use less concrete - it's like comparing a solid bar of chocolate to an Aero bar.'

Dr Howieson said that in the 60s and 70s planners would experiment with new construction methods and systems if they promised houses quickly.

He said: 'Then, building quality was crucified on the cross of cost per unit.'

He said it would be far cheaper for them to be demolished than repaired.

They are just one of a series of housing disasters caused by the rush to build new homes.

In Glasgow there were the disastrous Hutchie E flats - constructed to a design specification ideal for Tunisia but, in the damp of Scotland, turned into miserable mould-boxes.
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 1, 2004
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