Architect Kengo Kuma expresses ‘surprise’ as construction costs soar from £45m to £80.1m
An independent investigator has been appointed to establish how the construction costs for the V&A Museum of Design Dundee have rocketed from £45m to £80.1m.
Businessman and chair of Skills Development Scotland John McClelland will lead the inquiry into the cost overruns on the project, Dundee City Councillors have been told.
The news came at a meeting of the authority’s Policy and Resources Committee tasked with progressing the new funding package for the museum, designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma as the centrepiece for Dundee’s £1bn Waterfront project.
A former global chief industrial officer at electronics giant Philips, and a past vice president of worldwide operations at IBM, McClelland conducted a 2006 review of public-sector procurement for the Scottish government.
His role is to establish firmer details of how costs for the V&A project have escalated.
As Building reported last week, Dundee has said “initial indications” for the spike in costs appeared to be “unprecedented levels of construction inflation”, an “unexpectedly low level of market interest from main contractors”, and the “highly complex nature” of the museum’s structure.
Due to several factors, including inflation, and current market conditions the tender returned surprisingly high and this was unexpected even to the main contractors due to the complex nature of the project
Bam was chosen as preferred main contractor for the job in September last year after a two-horse race with Sir Robert McAlpine. In the intervening period, it has agreed a £76.16m fixed-price contract for the work, under a two-stage tender process.
A statement provided to Building by Kengo Kuma said the practice had found the latest construction cost estimates “surprisingly high”.
It said: “The V&A Museum of Design Dundee is a very complex project, we have done extensive cost checking during the design process, and we have market-tested the major building packages with various contractors.
“Due to several factors, including inflation, and current market conditions the tender returned surprisingly high and this was unexpected even to the main contractors due to the complex nature of the project.
“We are very pleased, however, that Dundee City Council, the Scottish Government and the client body have decided to go forward as planned.”
A report to last night’s meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee targeted a start on site for the project of March this year and completion in December 2017.
However, it warned that if the March start date was missed, the necessary preparatory works in the River Tay would have to be delayed by six months because of the seal pup season, which runs from June to August.
The museum is being developed by the Design Dundee partnership, which includes the V&A, the University of Dundee, Abertay University, Scottish Enterprise, and Dundee City Council.