Costain and Ferrovial are being forced to carry out major repair work on their £400m Bradford Building Schools for the Future project after heating pipes at four schools under construction were damaged by bad weather

All of the schools are secondaries, and all are due to open at the start of 2011. A source close to the programme said one of them may be delayed by the damage, which has affected underfloor heating pipes and concrete floors. Localised repairs are being done at the others.

The damage was caused when water that had been put into the pipes to test for leaks froze when the temperature fell to –10ºC.

Educo, the Ferrovial Agromán and Costain joint venture building the schemes, is facing extra costs following the damage, the extent of which is still being assessed.

Alex Vaughan, Costain’s head of communities, said: “It won’t cost nothing. But we won’t pass the costs on to the council.”

Vaughan said the firm was “in the process of rectifying damage”, and working with consultants on a remedial plan for the worst affected school.

I’m as confident about meeting the deadline as I can be, sitting here

Alex Vaughan, Costain

He said: “We’re looking to reprogramme works, and are looking at an acceleration programme to meet the deadline.”

When asked if it would meet its deadline, he said: “I’m as confident as I can be, sitting here. What’s important is that we are ensuring the local authority is kept fully informed of our progress so the education of the children is not affected.”

The pipes were installed in the concrete slab, so were lower in the ground than if they were in the screed, and more exposed to low temperatures. However, Vaughan emphasised that the system was correctly installed, and said: “It’s just been very cold. I don’t think we’re the only project that’s been affected.”

The schools are part of the second phase of the BSF programme, of which several schools have been completed.