Michael Staines
Michael Staines

09.15 24 Jan 2020


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A public procurement expert has warned that the cost of the National Children’s Hospital is likely to come close to €2.4bn.

On Newstalk Breakfast this morning DCU Professor Paul Davis said the hospital will be ‘one of the most expensive buildings in the world’ when it is finally complete.

It comes as The Irish Times reports that the project is facing fresh delays and budget concerns.

The paper said the HSE oversight group is working to “realistic construction timelines” with concerns that developer BAM is “not in line” with its contract.

National Children's Hospital

Dr Davis said the current €1.7bn estimate for the project does not take into account the cost of installing modern IT systems, the increase in inflation for construction projects or the rise in claims for additional costs from BAM.

“In estimates, by the time we are finished with putting everything in with the actual fit-out we could be looking at close to €2.4bn – making it one of the most expensive buildings in the world,” he said. “Particularly of a hospital scale.”

“That is not unusual because what we did was we went into a build without a finished design and we have tried to fit everything after the fact rather than doing it before the fact.

“And yes, with any build there will always be some contingencies but if you go in without a design in the first place, those contingencies are just going to keep increasing and that is what we are seeing now.”

On The Pat Kenny Show, however, the Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe said the design was in place before construction got underway.

“It is absolutely wrong to suggest that anybody went into this project without a design for the National Children’s Hospital,” he said. “That clearly is not the case. The project is being built at the moment.”

“Yes, we did make mistakes in relation to how the overall costing of that project was dealt with and I am determined that we won’t repeat them again.”

Honesty

Earlier, on the leaders’ edition of Newstalk Breakfast’s ‘Your Call’ the Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin accused the Government of showing a lack of honesty over the project.

“The Government have been really hiding this from the public, in terms of the cost of this hospital and the huge difficulties with it,” he said.

“It has gone from about €600m to €2bn and I remember Leo Varadkar saying that short of an asteroid hitting the planet, this hospital would be finished this year – 2020."

 


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