The paediatric outpatient and urgent care centre at Tallaght University Hospital is contractually scheduled to be completed in February 2021
Members of National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) appeared before the joint Oireachtas Health Committee….
In an opening statement David Gunning, chief officer of board, says since the project started the contractors, BAM, have made “hundreds of millions of euros” in extra claims.
This is consuming a significant amount of executive and project-team time
Mr Gunning states: “In December 2018, the Government approved an investment decision of €1.433bn for the project.
He said there are “a number of exceptions” that have always been outside of this investment, and for which there cannot be price certainty at this point, or for the duration of the project.
“These include, for example, national construction inflation in excess of 4pc, any changes in scope resulting from healthcare policy change, statutory changes and the Employment Order.
“The last time the NPHDB was before the Oireachtas Committee on Health, in November 2019, we advised the committee that the main contractor was behind schedule on the construction works.
“At that time, the delay was four months, and it was our view that the main contractor could have made up the time. However, by the time the main contractor closed the site in March as a result of the Covd-19 restrictions, the delay had increased to six months….”
Róisín Shortall TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats, said:
“It was disappointing to hear in the board’s opening statement that there have been hundreds of claims for hundreds of millions of euro in relation to this development.
What was particularly frustrating, however, was the inability of NHPDB to give us a working assumption of both the estimated completion date and estimated total cost of the hospital project.
“Given the evidence we have heard here today, it is not credible for the board to talk about working towards the original completion date. More than nine months of progress has been lost this year alone and who knows what else is going to hold this project up.
“It is concerning that NHPDB cannot provide details of expected cost overruns or a breakdown of the legal fees contained in the €1.433 billion estimate for the project.
Ms Shortall added:
“The board said today it will not be in a position to provide an update on the costs and timeline of the National Children’s Hospital project until the first quarter of 2021. We need to bring NHPDB before the Health Committee again in January to answer pre-set questions that the public and taxpayer are entitled to.
“It is highly unsatisfactory that that board was not able to answer our questions today and it is not an acceptable way for a public body to operate.”