Groundbreaking Ecocenter Hit By Contractor Woes: Needs Your Help

WISE institute Wales construction photo

Image credit: Centre for Alternative Technology

From my interview with Center for Alternative Technology director Paul Allen, to my post specifically about the planned Wales Institute for Sustainable Education (WISE), I've been super excited about the construction of this cutting-edge sustainable education center in rural Wales. The building is set to feature earth and hemp construction; energy efficient glazing; solar water heating integrated into a district heating system; and semi-transparent PV technologies used to provide both energy and shading. The opening date is set for June. Classes are booked. And there's a high-profile launch event featuring major international speakers. There's only one problem - the building company has gone bust, and owes the Center for Alternative Technology some GB£530,000 (US$800,000) in legal costs. They need your help to keep things moving.According to the Center for Alternative Technology (CAT), the trouble began when the construction company—which had formerly been a family-owned business that they had good relationships with—was bought by venture capitalists:

"Originally a £5 million project, the building costs for WISE have risen because of a legal dispute between CAT and the main contractor, Frank Galliers Ltd. They were formerly a family-run company with whom we formed a friendly and innovative partnership that sadly deteriorated after the company was bought by a venture capitalist firm.

Following the dismissal of Galliers, after numerous difficulties, several defects were discovered in the building, some structural. Last month, in the High Court, CAT was awarded over £530,000 in costs and our actions in terminating Galliers' contract were exonerated. Unfortunately, within a week of CAT obtaining judgment, Galliers went into administration and a short time later, liquidation. Given the magnitude of Galliers' debts (almost £10m), it is unlikely that we will see a penny."

CAT is launching an appeal for the Wales Institute for Sustainable Education, asking supporters to step up and help them meet the GB£530,000 repair costs that they find themselves faced with. And things are looking good. The charity has raised GB£200,000 so far, and is hopeful it can still reach its goal of launching this summer.

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