Written answers

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Department of Education and Skills

Schools Building Projects

Photo of Michael RingMichael Ring (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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194. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if his Department or the Office of Public Works had a site manager for the building of a school (details supplied). [19417/16]

Photo of Michael RingMichael Ring (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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198. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he is aware that the entire roof of a school (details supplied) is leaking and that the roof timbers are completely discoloured due to the amount of water coming in through the roof; if he has received any information or a report on this problem; his proposals and timeline to remedy this matter considering that this is a purpose built primary school constructed circa 2007-2008 and there is concern that the electrics in the building will be affected if the roof is not entirely replaced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19451/16]

Photo of Michael RingMichael Ring (Mayo, Fine Gael)
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199. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the name of the architect or architectural firm which designed a school (details supplied); the name of the builder or building company which built the school; the contractual price for this project; the date the contract was signed and the project completed; the amount of money withheld under the retention clause; the final amount actually paid under the contract; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19452/16]

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 194, 198 and 199 together.

In 2006 the school to which the Deputy refers received devolved funding from my Department to provide a new four- classroom school on a greenfield site.

The purpose of the Department's devolved building schemes is to allow individual school authorities the means to address their accommodation and building priorities with a guaranteed amount of funding and with minimal interaction with the Department. In practice, the Department's devolved project schemes empowers school authorities to appoint a Design Team for the project and to enter into a contract with a builder to deliver it. All of these actions are governed by the relevant Departmental Technical Guidance Documents which are made available to schools. The drawdown of funding for projects is subject to certain confirmations provided by a school authority such as that the project has been delivered in accordance with the Department's Technical Guidance Documents, Building Regulations and other statutory approvals.

The Lead Consultant appointed by a Board of Management is, as the competent professional, the site Manager for the project. Given the number of devolved projects underway nationwide at any given time (there are approximately 2,000 such projects currently), it would not be feasible for the Department to act as site manager for these projects nor has the OPW any role in these projects. The need for this, in any event, is obviated by the appointment of a Consultant for the project which is paid for by the Department.

The Board of Management appointed Cosgrave Consults to design its building and it entered into a contract with Gerard McGrath Contractor as the main contractor for the delivery of the project. As with all devolved projects, the delivery contract is held in the school by the Board of Management. Information on the date the contract was signed and on the retention value of the project is accordingly held by the school authority. The project was completed in August 2007. The final cost for the project was €902,705 of which the Department funded €771,356. The school met the remainder of the cost from its own resources.

The final draw down for the approved funding took place in 2007 and the school provided confirmation of all of the necessary compliances in relation to the building to enable the payment. There were two further contacts with the school thereafter – one in 2009 and one in 2011. There was no mention of any issues with the roof in these contacts.

The first record that the Department has of potential problems with the roof is an application for funding under the Summer Works Scheme 2016/17. It is noted that the Consultant's Report accompanying the application was compiled by Cosgrave Consults which was also the firm employed by the school for its new building project. The application was filed by the closing date for the Scheme in December 2015. Due to the level of funding available, it was not possible to reach the roof works category for projects approved for 2016. Valid Summer Works Scheme applications from schools for categories that were not reached under round one approvals will, subject to the overall availability of funding, qualify to be assessed under future rounds of the Scheme. If this arises, the terms and conditions of the Scheme will continue to apply when allocating funding to such projects.

On the 21st of June and the 30th of June 2016, the Deputy set down Parliamentary Questions in relation to an Emergency Works application from the school for roof works. I confirmed to the Deputy in reply to these questions that my Department has no record of receiving this application.

In the details supplied, the Deputy provided an incomplete Emergency Works Scheme application form. It appears from that form that the school has now employed a different Consultant for its proposed roof works project. It is noted that the diagnosis of the issues in the Summer Works Scheme application and what is being prepared for the Emergency Works Scheme application is completely different and widely varying in cost. This will have to be reconciled by the school.

However, from the information available in these applications, it appears that the issues arising relate to the original building project. As such, any defects are a matter for the school, its Design Team and the main contractor. The school, as the client party to the contract involved, must pursue these entities and or their insurances as necessary to remedy them. I am sure that the Deputy will agree that the school, the Department and the tax paying public have the right to expect that a building delivered under contractual protection will be fully functional and can operate as intended. It would not be acceptable for the Department to pay again for works that should have been correctly carried out in the first instance and any assessment of the Summer Works Scheme application on hands or any Emergency Works Scheme application subsequently received will have to be considered in this context.


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