Only 27 of the 3,000 rooms at the National Children’s Hospital have been completed.
Back in 2015, construction costs for the National Children’s Hospital (NCH) were estimated to come in at around €600 million. On Tuesday, eight years and no completed hospital later, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the current budget was still at €1.433 billion but that was not expected to cover final costs.
“We expect it to be completed and handed over next year,” Varadkar told the Dáil. “We’d expect it to be open to patients towards the end of next year or early 2025 at the latest.”
An Oireachtas committee has heard that the cost of the new children’s hospital is expected to cost over €2 billion, with just 27 rooms completed out of a target of 3,000 at this point.
The board of the hospital project also told the Oireachtas Health Committee on Wednesday that the contractor for the build, BAM, has failed to provide a progress report since February.
In his opening statement, David Gunning, the chief officer of the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) said:
“The most recent progress report received from BAM – in April 2023 for works up to February 2023 – stated the substantial completion date would be May 2024 which is 21 months beyond the original contracted completion date of 4 August 2022 and 18 months beyond the contractual substantial completion date of November 2022.
“BAM had previously confirmed in writing that an updated programme would be submitted by the 7 July 2023, we are still awaiting this programme. While I understand how frustrating this is for the members, it is very difficult to provide a firm answer on the completion date in the absence of a compliant contract programme.”
“Everything possible is being done to ensure this project is completed as soon as possible”
The NPHDB told the Oireachtas committee on Health that BAM achieved only 67 per cent of its planned output levels in the last 12 months. There have also been additional cost claims made by BAM.
According to the statement, 2,175 claims have been raised up to the end of June of this year, with the substantiated value as claimed by BAM sitting at €756 million.
The 27 rooms currently completed represent just 1% of the amount of rooms projected to be built. Those completed rooms also “presented a large number of snags.”
An Taoiseach told the Dáil, “Infrastructure projects like these are huge, they’re complex… but I want to reassure the House that everything possible is being done to ensure this project is completed as soon as possible.”