BAM, THE PRIMARY contractor building the new National Children’s Hospital, has submitted claims for extra costs running to “hundreds of millions of euro”, an Oireachtas Committee is set to be told today.
Chief Officer of of National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) David Gunning will brief TDs and Senators on the status of the massive project today, and will say the claims for extra costs are taking up “a significant amount” of the the board’s time.
He will also say that the scheduled competition date for the project is now six months behind schedule and is now due in early 2023.
The project was expected to cost €983 million in 2017; Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told the Dáil in late 2018 that it was expected to cost €1.4 billion; it’s now expected to cost €1.73 billion.
In his opening statement today, Gunning will tell the committee that BAM is “contractually obliged to deliver the contract, in the timeframe set out and within the budget agreed” but that the contractor has been “extremely assertive” in making claims related to costs.
“Since the commencement of this project there have been hundreds of claims for hundreds of millions of euro and the sheer volume and nature of claims on this project is consuming a significant amount of executive and project team time,” Gunning is expected to say.
He will also outline to the committee that the timeline for the completion of the project has lengthened. When the NPHDB briefed the committee last year it was four months behind schedule but Gunning will say that this is now “six months”.
The opening statement will say that Covid-19 restrictions caused the closure of building sites for seven weeks earlier this year but that “the main contractor did not reopen the new children’s hospital construction site for a further seven weeks, on 13 July”.
Gunning will say that the NPHDB is “still without a valid works programme” and that “until such time as a compliant programme is delivered to the NPHDB we are withholding 15% of monies invoiced every month.