The main contractor for the National Children’s Hospital has said that it “rejects” accusations that it is “underperforming” or has under-resourced the troubled project.
BAM, the contractor for the new facility which came under sustained fire from the chief officer of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board, David Gunning, at the Public Accounts Committee yesterday, said that the “main driver” for the delays and €300m in claims the company had made to date “continues to be the lack of a fully complete, co-ordinated design for the project”.
A spokesperson for the company said that “new amendments are being added all the time” which results in new material requirements and “changes to entire work programmes”.
They added that it is required to inform the NPHDB of every event which might give rise to an additional cost or delay.
The spokesperson said in a statement:
At yesterday’s hearing, Mr Gunning had firmly laid the blame for the project’s delay on the “underperforming” BAM, and said that the more than 700 additional claims received to date represented an “inordinate” number.
The same hearing heard that the project will now most likely be delayed until at least early 2014, while no updated budget for the €1.7bn build was forthcoming.
BAM said today that, far from underperforming, the company “ensures at all times that the project is fully resourced according to existing agreed work based on approved designs”, with the maximum number of allowable workers on site under current Covid public health restrictions.
The spokesperson said that it rejects the suggestion that its work programme updates have not been compliant with its contract with the NPHDB, adding that the updates it has delivered are “more than what is needed to monitor progress”.
It said its current work programme has more than 27,000 individual activities, compared with the accepted programme dating from January 2019 which had roughly 16,000 such activities.
They added that it remains “committed” to delivering the hospital, which has been in the works for more than 25 years, “as quickly and efficiently as possible provided the current difficulties can be overcome”.
“Significant progress is currently being made and we are fast approaching the ‘topping out’ of the project where construction will have reached its highest point,” they added.