'There's no room to lay down a pallet ...': Tom Parlon hits back at Taoiseach over children's hospital

'There's no room to lay down a pallet ...': Tom Parlon hits back at Taoiseach over children's hospital

The head of the Construction Industry Federation, Tom Parlon, claims it is “very wrong” for the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to say that contractors are at fault for the escalating cost of the National Children’s Hospital.

However, he warned that if the Government goes with the lowest bid in the tendering process “then we will have problems like this.”

It was the change in specifications and design that “allowed the increased cost” on this project, he told RTE's Today with Sean O'Rourke show.

The profit margin for construction companies is only 1% to 2%, he claimed.

“If anything goes wrong they could go broke. It is a low margin, high-risk business.”

Mr Parlon said that the Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe, was right to question the role and input of advisers on the National Children’s Hospital.

The St James' site was also a problem, he pointed out, as “there is no room to lay down a pallet of blocks.”

He said that the Government depends on its advisers and that after “€35m to €40m was wasted on the Mater site” there was pressure to put the hospital elsewhere.

It had been naïve for the Taoiseach to think the “current magnificent” hospital design could be completed for the original price by 2020.

He called on Mr Varadkar to name the companies he said he would not like to see getting any future Government contracts.

Mr Parlon also warned that any moves on price certainty will “put all the risk” on the contractors. “It could break them,” he said.

He said that there has to be collaboration between the client and the contractor and suggested that it would be better to wait and see what conclusions come from the PwC report.

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