Bill for Ballyfermot Leisure Centre over budget by €27.3m

By Maurice Garvey

THE bill to Dublin City Council for the construction of Ballyfermot Leisure Centre was €27.3 million over budget – leading local representatives to demand answers.

The Local Government Auditor’s Report for 2015 for DCC confirmed the total cumulative spend on Ballyfermot Leisure Centre reached €45.5 million.

Ballyfermot leisure centre 29 December 2016

The original contract price to construct the centre was €18.2 million.

As reported in The Echo in 2013, the council were involved in a drawn out arbitration process with the original contractors for the leisure centre – Spanish firm Ferrovial Agroman Ltd.

The leisure centre opened in 2008, however loose tiles began popping up on the base of the swimming pool in early 2013, and spread to the changing rooms, forcing the temporary closure of the pool for a year.

Remediation works were also required at the five-a-side football pitches.

The row between DCC and the contractor concerning the final cost of the scheme, was settled in June of this year.

In his formal reply to local government auditor Richard Murphy, DCC Chief Executive Owen Keegan said that a “conciliation process in 2010 was unsuccessful and an arbitration process commenced in 2011.”

Mr Keegan said the contractor reduced the claim from €38m plus VAT to €27 million plus VAT “in addition to the original contract price.”

He said the council “defended the claim and counter claimed in the amount of € 6.4m - cost of necessary remedial works to the swimming pool and consequential loss of swimming pool and weather pitches revenue during closure.”

Mr Keegan said: “Following a review of the case and assessing the opinion of our legal counsel and our expert consultants, it was decided that the most financially prudent course of action was to negotiate a settlement with the contractor.

“A settlement was agreed with the contractor in June 2016, in the amount of €5 million plus VAT, representing full and final settlement of their claim and €8 million in relation to their costs to date.

He said the settlement was agreed by DCC “against the backdrop of an ongoing arbitration claim potentially lasting a further number of years where ever increasing costs would be incurred by both sides.”

He said the settlement represented a “significant reduction in the original claim submitted by the contractor.”

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