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Children’s Hospital contractor sought extra claims totalling 'in excess of €200 million', TDs told

The completion date for the project is also being pushed back further.

Image: RollingNews.ie

Updated Nov 18th 2020, 2:00 PM

BAM, THE PRIMARY contractor building the new National Children’s Hospital, has submitted claims for extra costs running “in excess of €200 million”, the Oireachtas Health Committee was told today. 

Chief Officer of of National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) David Gunning said that this amount was in relation to “over 600 claims” but that the board was defending these claims. 

“Where we feel there is no entitlement, we are using all mechanisms available in the contract to defend these claims and to protect the public purse,” he said. 

TDs and Senators were being briefed on the status of the massive project today and heard that the project is delayed again.

The scheduled competition date for the project was originally set for August 2022 and was six months behind schedule before Covid-19.

Gunning said that there were seven weeks where Covid-19 restrictions stopped works and a further seven weeks thereafter where BAM did not return to the site. 

He said this gives a “clear indication” of the overall delay in the projected but he was reluctant to give an updated completion date and that this was partly due to BAM not providing a work programme.  

Gunning said that an updated completion date would be provided early next year. 

Pushed by a number of TDs, Gunning said that the “working assumption” on the completion date is the “contract timelines” and that that would remain the case “until such time as we change that programme”. 

“I anticipate we will be working with the contractor and providing updated guidance to stakeholders on schedule in early next year, that is the position,” he said. 

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In response, Social Democrats TD Roisín Shortall said that “board is delusional” it is working off the original date and that this is “not acceptable”. 

On the overall cost of the project, Gunning said that the NPHDB was working within the scope of the €1.43 billion budget but that there is “considerable pressure” on that estimate. 

The project was originally expected to cost €983 million in 2017 but this increased to €1.4 billion in 2018 and there have been suggestions that the overall cost may now be above €2 billion

“The approved budget is €1.43 billion, and we are currently operating within that budgetary scope. However, I think it’s fair to say that there are considerable pressures on that particular budget,” he said. 

Gunning went on to say that the primary pressure on the budget was due to ongoing delays in the project and that this was “problematic”.  

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Rónán Duffy

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