28 Oct 2008

Not too long ago, I posted about a design consultant specialising in school buildings who had gone to the papers to warn about the fact that the Department of Education, with the assistance of the planning authorities, was trying to kill off the school extension programme. What was happening, apparently/allegedly, was that the planning authorities were demanding that the scope of work on a typical school extension project be increased to the point where overall costs would exceed the €380,000 limit which the Department grant would cover, thereby ensuring that the project wouldn’t progress. The consultant, who says he was later threatened that projects on which he was engaged would receive harsher treatment from the powers-that-be if he didn’t keep his mouth shut, warned that hundreds of people involved in the school building programme would lose their jobs if the corruption of the system continued.

Well, in a related development, here’s what happened recently on a school extension project in Tipperary. After months of to-ing and fro-ing, planning permission was finally granted on a very modest, very necessary proposal. The contractor, who had been sitting on the sidelines for months, finally signed a contract to complete the work for an amount safely below the €380,000 limit. But then, absolutely out of the blue and without prior warning, the Department of Education demanded that the contractor reduce his tender figure by 4%! Or else! The contractor refused. The project is stone dead. And what I'd like to know is the name of the person who came up with the '4% saving idea' so I can write him/her a nasty letter.

(By the way, the consultant/whistle-blower I mentioned at the start of the piece? He and about fifteen colleagues have since lost their jobs because none of the school extension projects they were working on could get planning permission. He has a lot more to say about the situation and I intend to provide him with a platform.)  

Tuesday, October 28, 2008 11:41:37 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Will be very interested to hear the upshot from that. Bring it on! Its time we took the civil services on in this country and stop mumbling our dissent into our pint glasses.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008 11:24:58 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Gary i can verify this story. i was contacted to act as a go between this consultancy company and north tipp co co because north tipp co co were ignoring requests for a meeting to sort out excessive planning conditions which were driving the price over the 390,000. out of one of my requests for a meeting the consultancy company got warned off! but i perservered and the meeting took place resulting in a favourable agreement taking only TEN minites! there are not one but four school projects in real trouble because of this 4% cut in an agreed price. these developers had put jobs aside to do these school jobs and it will result in lay offs in these development companies. it is my view that the department colluded with local government to stop these schools getting the go ahead and there is much worse to come. cllr. séamie morris
cllr. séamie morris
Friday, October 31, 2008 5:27:52 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Paul, I'm ready whenever you are. Seamie, send me on the details of the other four schools and I'll post them. Was this 4% mandatory reduction part of the budget?
Friday, October 31, 2008 5:29:33 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Gary , I found after much frustration in dealing with school extension projects and planning and dept obstacles by involving closely the School boards to instruct on cost engineering and prioritizing works - projects were realized. I am just finishing one project where the board and parents set up a 5year Guaranteed Bond to build part of the school extension ,they were not prepared to let the department off the hook take what was now on offer and get back the full and fixed costs by continuing to send accounts every year to the dept of education to settle the account .
Aiden O Donovan
Saturday, November 01, 2008 4:18:24 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Aiden, I think you post is pointing to the future of the school building programme - school boards becoming 100% responsible for the delivery of their own schools.
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