Work should continue on schools hit by liquidation

Works should continue as usual on five schools being built for the Department of Education by a consortium led by one of the UK’s biggest building firms which is in liquidation.

Work should continue on schools hit by liquidation

The assurance was offered by the National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) in response to the collapse of Carillion Group which owes over €1bn to debtors and has over 20,000 employees.

The Department of Education is expected to pay out €268.5m over the next 25 years for the construction and maintenance of five schools being built by a consortium in which Carillion is a partner. Contracts for the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) deal were signed with Inspired Spaces Consortium, a 50-50 joint venture between Carillion and Dutch Infrastructure Fund, in July 2016.

The schools in Carlow, Meath, Wexford and Wicklow are being built on behalf of Inspired Spaces by Sammon Construction at an estimated cost of €100m. The department said yesterday the projects were around 90% complete but could not give expected handover dates for students and staff to occupy the facilities.

The NDFA, which manages the contract for the department, said the advanced state of completion of the build and fit-out meant it did not envisage material disruption or delay to the works.

“This PPP contract includes detailed provisions that apply in the event of the liquidation of a consortium member to ensure that the project proceeds on a ‘business as usual’ basis with minimal disruption,” the NDFA said.

It is understood the remaining partner in a consortium, in partnership with their project financiers, undertake to ensure all obligations are fulfilled if the other partner goes out of business.

Under PPPs for schools, payments are only made as contractual requirements are met, with monthly payments continuing for 25 years. In return, the State’s private partners provide services such as caretaking and maintenance of buildings and equipment, hire-out of facilities, and other non-educational roles.

The Department of Education has paid InspiredSpaces €4.4m for off-site works already completed but monthly payments will only begin when schools are completed.

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