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Friday 1 December 2023 Dublin: 2°C
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Children's Hospital contractor 'needs to step up' and deliver project on time, says minister

The contractor is pushing out the handover date from March to May 2024, says the minister.

THE CONTRACTOR FOR the National Children’s Hospital ”needs to step up”, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has said. 

Speaking to reporters at Government Buildings this afternoon, he said a “revised programme of works” submitted by the contractor pushes out the handover date of the hospital from March 2024 to May 2024. 

The board has not agreed to the schedule of the works, said the minister. 

An issue was identified last month with 11 operating theatres; however, the board rejected the suggestion that faults in the ceiling of the operating theatres could set the project back “tens of millions” of euro. 

In a statement last month, the board said the “critical issue of concern” relates to the contractor BAM. It said BAM continues to submit large volumes of claims on the new children’s hospital project – 2,122 claims up to the end of May 2023.

“To date, of the determined claims made by the Employer’s Representative, less than 2% of the value of the claims submitted by BAM has been awarded in its favour. Including settled disputes this is equivalent to approx. €13m or 1.4% of the contract value,” it said. 

Donnelly told reporters that he met with the board, chairman and the chief executive last week. 

“We looked through the issues in great detail. The board is determined to bring this project in as quickly as it can and for the best possible value for the state.

“My view on this is very clear. The contractor has an obligation to deliver according to its contract. There were some inevitable delays to be fair during Covid, but there have been delays to this project, which I don’t believe are acceptable or certainly not acceptable to me,” he said.

“The contractor has submitted a revised program of works that I believe shifts the handover date from March to May.”

He also said that the board does not believe it is a “compliant schedule of works”.

“I believe greater efforts are required from the contractor. I believe that there is more that can be done in terms of deploying resources to this site to accelerate the speed at which this is being delivered.

“I’m not satisfied at the speed with which it’s being delivered. And so we’re working through various issues in terms of timelines, and ensuring the best possible value for money. The contractor has made claims for a very, very significant amount of money,” he said. 

“But my position on this is very clear. The contractor needs to step up. The contractor needs to deploy sufficient resources to bring this project in, according to the original timelines,” said Donnelly, stating that the original handover date is March.

“If there is to be a further delay to me that needs to be agreed in good faith with the board, who are doing their very best on behalf of the state,” said Donnelly.

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