Fresh questions have been asked into the spiralling costs of the new children’s hospital which is set to begin construction in the coming months.
Costs are expected to reach €2 billion upon completion making it the most expensive public works undertaken by the Irish government to date. It is also more than triple the original estimates for the project.
Since September the government began to open up about the spiralling costs and question are being raised about how much the government knew and why the project costs are out of control.
Some blame is being placed on inflation costs within the construction industry itself, this has seen some contactor bids rise by almost 65% reported the Irish Times. Additional cost has been seen in the amount of material that is expected to be required along with additional costs relating to work in two nearby hospitals. Much it seems has either been overlooked or understated.
This has led to some heated exchanges in the public accounts committee(PAC). Questions have been raised against the government and the process in which estimates, and plans have been drawn up for the hospital.
The Department of Health provided a breakdown of the expected costs and this was reported in the RTE.
PAC chairperson Seán Fleming read out the figures
€14.5m for decanting costs in relation to the site
€5.8m for aspergillosis (Infection control during construction)
€550m for main contractor BAM having risen from 430 million in 2017
€177m for the Jones Group up from €107 million
€157m for Mercury, another contractor up from €89 million
€53.4m for outpatient and urgent care centres in Tallaght and Connolly
€87.9m to equip the hospital with MRIs and furniture
€13.6m for planning and development fees
€13.6m for development levies payable to various local authorities
€71.3m for design team fees
€51.3m as a contingency
€66.04m to cover the cost of running the National Paediatric Development Board Company for the entire course of the project and their legal and professional fees
€18m for the Children’s Research and Innovation Centre
€97m for information and communications technology in relation to computers
€86m for the children’s hospital integration programme, for the integration of the Children’s Hospital at Crumlin, Temple Street and Tallaght
€52m for a new electronic healthcare records system
Approximately €40m of a write-off paid for the Mater Hospital site, which was the original first option that did not proceed
“Those costs come to €293m, giving a grand total, as of today, of €1.7 billion,” said Mr Fleming.
Sinn Féin TD David Cullinane questioned the department about possible knock-on effects of the overrun, specifically its impact on other projects which are in the pipeline noted RTE.
He was told that yes there will be adverse effects on several projects but that the department cannot go in specifics about individual cases. Thus, highlighting problems which are bound to arise in
As enquiries and investigations are being made in both the public and private sector it is almost certain that further issues are going to arise. Scrutiny is arising from all sides in government and the public as they seek answers as to why the project has spiralled out of control with no fundamental changes to the design and plans.
Some TD’s looked abroad to Sweden which had a similar budget and the ROI of that building somehting which does not seem to be prevailing here.
With the nurse’s general strike and now this it is not a good time to be a part of the department of health right now.
In regards to additional costs Seamus McCarthy told the PAC “In 2014 the Department of Health approved a total budget of €790m for the board’s work. As of December 2018, the costs expected to be incurred under the board’s remit were estimated at €1.433 billion.
“However, additional costs will be incurred by other agencies including Children’s Health Ireland to fully equip and commission the hospital before it can get up and running.”