Typical of exploding construction costs,the final estimates for the St James Children's hospital has ballooned to a horrendous 1.7 thousand million euros, more than double the initial estimate. This hyper inflation in costs has a number of causes. The most important cost driver is recovery in commercial construction from the construction depression which lasted for several years after the collapse of the Celtic Tiger construction boom. With the construction labour force dramatically reduced by mass emigration in the depression, construction costs and bid prices were poised to spike upwards in cyclical recovery.
Still, the government might have done more to keep costs from exploding. Irish and eastern European trades and professions who emigrated in the depression are likely deterred from returning by high 50% marginal tax rates on incomes above the average and absurdly high rents and housing costs in Dublin, both the fault of government. In construction,overtime can be important at times to meet project deadlines but construction workers who work in hard manual jobs are reluctant to take a pay cut of half on overtime for income tax.
Apprenticeships in construction have also been neglected going by the drastic reduction in construction training programmes in many ITs. The government should have a campaign to persuade young Irish that they would have a better career in construction trades than with many mediocre or useless third level degrees and diplomas. This is not to disparage the value of high quality degrees and diplomas but the third level has attracted too many "bums on seats" just to earn fees and keep going despite parsimonious government funding and inadequate average fees.