National Children’s Hospital will be one of the most expensive buildings ever built

MVOR

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Further delays and cost overruns have firmly placed the National Children’s Hospital in the top 20 most expensive buildings ever built. While some Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil members will dismiss this as just tabloid headlines, the numbers match with the more reputable Irish Times.


Originally proposed in 1993, it wasn’t until Brendan Drumm headed up the HSE in 2006 and forced it through by refusing to sign off on any spending by the existing children’s hospitals. A site at the Mater was proposed but rejected by planners. At least one greenfield site was offered after this but rejected by Fianna Fáil. In the end a ludicrous site in St James Hospital was selected by Fine Gael who proceeded to let the contractors have a free for all with the budget. They promised that it would be finished in 2020 at all costs. 2020 is here and the hospital is nowhere near finished. The current estimate of €2.4bn is likely to escalate even more so watch this space, it should be in the top 10 most expensive buildings before long.
 
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Rural

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Further delays and cost overruns have firmly placed the National Children’s Hospital in the top 20 most expensive buildings ever built. While some Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil members will dismiss this as just tabloid headlines, the numbers match with the more reputable Irish Times.


Originally proposed in 1993, it wasn’t until David Drumm headed up the HSE in 2006 and forced it through by refusing to sign off on any spending by the existing children’s hospitals. A site at the Mater was proposed but rejected by planners. At least one greenfield site was offered after this but rejected by Fianna Fáil. In the end a ludicrous site in St James Hospital was selected by Fine Gael who proceeded to let the contractors have a free for all with the budget. They promised that it would be finished in 2020 at all costs. 2020 is here and the hospital is nowhere near finished. The current estimate of €2.4bn is likely to escalate even more so watch this space, it should be in the top 10 most expensive buildings before long.
Now I'm just a peasant, a pleb, mother, housewife and part-time teacher of IT and administration. So my idea could be a smelly pile, here it is though.

The Children's Hospital should have been built on the site where RTE stands in Montrose (send RTE to Athlone or to the dump, whatever), it would be right beside a teaching hospital (Vincent's Hospital) and the National Maternity Hospital is due to be built beside Vincent's (if the Pope gets his thumb out), it would be an ideal spot, lots of busses, the DART isn't a million miles away and I believe they already have a helipad.

PS - The piece of land that RTE sold to builders has already been built on, beautiful, exclusive, unaffordable for most, apartments and houses, a new set of traffic lights were installed on the N11 and the last thing the N11 needs is a new set of traffic lights.

You can drive all the way from the North of Spain to the South of Spain without ever meeting a traffic light, just beautifully maintained roundabouts and everything flows.
 
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Lumpy Talbot

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Just try taking a look at three or four hospitals built in Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool and spot the cost. Nowhere near the cost of this project in Ireland. On one of them the project was hampered by the collapse of Carillion, work stopped for a while and the remainder of the project was put out to tender, bid for and the job completed and it still came in hundreds of millions below the cost of this hospital in Dublin.

The Glasgow project was much bigger than the Dublin NCH project, and is now the largest hospital complex in Europe. It has hi-speed lifts to multiple configuration helicopter pads. All the little luxuries you kind of like a children's hospital to have. Cost isn't anywhere near the cost of the NCH in Dublin.

Something is very, very wrong with this NCH project and the reasons being put about for this explosive, African-level assault on tax-payer's money are not very convincing.

I don't believe one word of the notion that it is simply construction sector inflation. Inflation overall in Ireland would want to be at some level well beyond what we know general inflation levels to be. And now we hear that there's another belt of unexpected hundreds of millions to be had.

Someone is on the con on this project and it looks like serious looting somewhere along the line because any kind of explanation I've heard offered so far just doesn't make any sense. Inflation within the construction sector would want to be running at 100's of per cent to match up to what we're seeing.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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If these sorts of numbers in an overrun on a public project were to occur in the US the Feds would be sitting up and sniffing the air suspiciously at this point. We're talking now about something like a 400% over-run since the successful bid figures were placed in the public domain. I am being very precise in what I'm saying there, rather than referring to 'reported on'.

There is no way in the wide wide world of sports that this sort of explosion in costs is down to inflation within the construction supply chain at all. It is like trying to explain away a nuclear mushroom cloud by blaming fireworks.

I just don't believe the truth or anything like it is being told about what's going on with this project. Location shrouded in controversy, long-delayed political football, massive loss of control over the costs draining what funding the public health sector in Ireland has to work with to the point where much needed projects in other hospitals are mothballed.

You don't need to be a forensic accountant to work out that there is something really very wrong with this project. The explanations offered are ludicrous.
 
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Uganda

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Originally proposed in 1993, it wasn’t until David Drumm headed up the HSE in 2006 and forced it through by refusing to sign off on any spending by the existing children’s hospitals. A site at the Mater was proposed but rejected by planners. At least one greenfield site was offered after this but rejected by Fianna Fáil. In the end a ludicrous site in St James Hospital was selected by Fine Gael who proceeded to let the contractors have a free for all with the budget. They promised that it would be finished in 2020 at all costs. 2020 is here and the hospital is nowhere near finished. The current estimate of €2.4bn is likely to escalate even more so watch this space, it should be in the top 10 most expensive buildings before long.
 

Uganda

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A good historical summary, but in the interests of accuracy just to note:

1. In 2001, a group of parents of kids attending Crumlin were encouraged to come together to lobby for the complete redevelopment of the hospital. They were encouraged to do so by 2 consultants there - Brendan Drumm and Fin Breathnach. In the teeth of opposition from the Crumlin Board they lobbied then Minister for Health - M Martin - to agree to it - which he did.

2. This remained the plan until Martin left Health, and was succeeded by Mary Harney. Within weeks of becoming Minister in 2004, she announced that she did not think Crumlin was capable of being redeveloped and announced that there would be a new children’s hospital Instead.

3. At around the same time, BRENDAN (not David) Drumm was appointed head of HSE and he drove Harnets policy along the lines you describe.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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16 years ago. Well, that closes down the avenue for those involved to say the project had been rushed in any way. There is either a monumental error in the administration of the contracts for the work on this hospital that everyone is trying to cover up or something way more serious going on.

Do we have a Comptroller still in the Irish national governance firmament. If we do, could someone please telephone him or her at the golf club.
 

Lumpy Talbot

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If inflation related to costs in the construction supply chain are running at 300% to 400% I'm pretty sure we'd have heard about it via many other channels by now.

Someone's telling porkies.
 

Uganda

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16 years ago. Well, that closes down the avenue for those involved to say the project had been rushed in any way. There is either a monumental error in the administration of the contracts for the work on this hospital that everyone is trying to cover up or something way more serious going on.

Do we have a Comptroller still in the Irish national governance firmament. If we do, could someone please telephone him or her at the golf club.
the original commitment was to have Crumlin redeveloped by 2009 at the latest
 

Lumpy Talbot

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I think it could be much bigger than that. This is so serious I really think we need an Inquiry. People might groan at that and point to a cost for an Inquiry biut I think there is a clear public interest issue at stake here.

If public projects are going to race billions beyond the tender prices this is a major hit on public finances and the Health sector budget. The vague notions of an explanation thus far are nowhere near good enough and are way beyond plausible now.
 

Uganda

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16 years ago. Well, that closes down the avenue for those involved to say the project had been rushed in any way. There is either a monumental error in the administration of the contracts for the work on this hospital that everyone is trying to cover up or something way more serious going on.

Do we have a Comptroller still in the Irish national governance firmament. If we do, could someone please telephone him or her at the golf club.
we do have a comptroller and auditor general. But he only reports after the fact and doesn’t seem to get involved in averting disasters in advance

the only other mechanism is the oireachtas public accounts committee (chaired by Sean Fleming - who is pretty good.

this is a useless talkingshop, full of grandstanding politicians. one or two are reasonable but most just indulge in faux outrage and then preen in front of the cameras.

catherine Murphy is quite good. Catherine Connolly gets to the nub of things but cant stop whinging and whining.

jonathon O’Brien comes across quite well, but is clearly reading out questions prepared elsewhere.

kate O’Connell masquerades as some type of intellectual

alan Kelly is typical bombast Kelly.

worst of all is Marc mcsharry who, in fairness, does try to convey - albeit unsuccessfully - that he has some intelligence, but behaves invariably like an oaf. His faux outrage is a sight to behold.

and finally bobby aylward, who manages to reduce every discussion to “if I brought a calf to the mart I’d..................”
 

Lumpy Talbot

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Oh lovely. I feel much happier and more confident now....
 

MVOR

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A good historical summary, but in the interests of accuracy just to note:

1. In 2001, a group of parents of kids attending Crumlin were encouraged to come together to lobby for the complete redevelopment of the hospital. They were encouraged to do so by 2 consultants there - Brendan Drumm and Fin Breathnach. In the teeth of opposition from the Crumlin Board they lobbied then Minister for Health - M Martin - to agree to it - which he did.

2. This remained the plan until Martin left Health, and was succeeded by Mary Harney. Within weeks of becoming Minister in 2004, she announced that she did not think Crumlin was capable of being redeveloped and announced that there would be a new children’s hospital Instead.

3. At around the same time, BRENDAN (not David) Drumm was appointed head of HSE and he drove Harnets policy along the lines you describe.
Thanks for the added info and I corrected the name above.
 

wombat

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Further delays and cost overruns have firmly placed the National Children’s Hospital in the top 20 most expensive buildings ever built.
Classic fake news, media compare construction costs elsewhere to project costs here. The overall costs are high but they include many extras such as the satellite facilities in Blanchardstown and Tallaght. The project has been mismanaged from inception but claiming that costs are only due to construction is nonsense, bordering on plain lies.
 

Uganda

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Classic fake news, media compare construction costs elsewhere to project costs here. The overall costs are high but they include many extras such as the satellite facilities in Blanchardstown and Tallaght. The project has been mismanaged from inception but claiming that costs are only due to construction is nonsense, bordering on plain lies.
There is also the issue of over speccing. This hospital will have more beds in it than the 3 children’s hospitals currently have, put together.

It might seem sensible to have more beds than we currently do now but all the movement in paediatric care, with advances in diagnostic technology etc means that in an up do date hospital the number of beds required should be significantly reduced. But Dept of Health seemingly wont entertain anything other than having more beds.

It is also widely rumoured that the board have caved in completely to the consultants in provision of facilities etc

And yet to come, but the picture has yet to fully emerge, in terms of staffing it appears they are gearing up to have more people working in the new hospital than currently work in the existing 3. Whatever about bringing all the existing nursing staff into the new site, it beggars belief that, with modern IT, they need anything remotely approaching the same number of admin staff.

But the long standing practice in the hse - establish, and maintain, feather bedding looks set to continue.
 

wombat

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There is also the issue of over speccing. This hospital will have more beds in it than the 3 children’s hospitals currently have, put together.
A basic rule of project management is to get the scope of a project defined before a design or cost estimate is produced. Its quite common on large projects to go for tender to produce a scope definition and preliminary estimate to see if the project is worth doing. Its hard to argue that a new children's hospital is not needed, the problem is in "project creep" where nobody said "No" when bells and whistles were being added. My only point is that you cannot compare construction costs of foreign hospitals with overall costs of the total Irish project.
 


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