Files show children's hospital cost overrun would have happened with other bidders

Files show children's hospital cost overrun would have happened with other bidders

The cost overrun at the new National Children's Hospital would have happened even if a different contractor had been selected, according to new documents from a meeting of a sub-committee of the board responsible for the development.

Questions were raised at the August meeting about whether the State could afford the project in its current state.

Committee members agreed that the problem of price increases would have arisen with bidders other than BAM due to inflation and changes in the amount of materials required.

Managing Director at PWC Ireland, Fergal O'Rourke, has said their review of the cost overrun will be delivered on time by the end of March.

The documents about the National Children's Hospital come from a sub-committee of the board overseeing the project. That committee is responsible for construction and finance.

The new documents also show questions about whether the State could afford the new National Children's Hospital were raised by one of the boards responsible for building it.

The board also predicted rising costs would make things difficult for capital spending in health weeks before the Budget.

In a meeting on August 1, 2018, some members suggested plans to achieve savings on the project were going to be difficult from the start.

They also noted any further cost increases would be challenging for the health capital plan.

The next committee meeting took place on August 30, just days after Minister Simon Harris had been told of a potential €391m overrun on the budget.

At that meeting, board members noted they might need to show value for money to stakeholders and that they needed to be able to stand over the public procurement process.

It was decided a best and worst-case scenario plan should be presented to the full board

Members also said they needed to take account of all figures, to see if the State could afford the hospital.

They agreed to possible weekly meetings with the HSE to discuss costs and noted with the level of construction work going on in Dublin, demand over the next two or three years could push costs up further.

In a later meeting in September, the board noted it had met with Press Advisors Q4PR to discuss a communications strategy for either awarding the phase 2 tender to build the hospital to BAM, or not awarding it and moving to a Plan B.

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