Mechanical, electrical and plumbing work at additional classrooms at North Side district’s Edna Moyle Primary School went nearly 30 percent over budget largely due to design flaws, the Legislative Assembly heard last week.
The initial contract for the work was for $13,900, Education Minister Tara Rivers said in response to a parliamentary question from the district’s representative, MLA Ezzard Miller. However, an additional $4,086 was spent to correct difficulties with the initial design.
Mr. Miller asked whether designs for the project were disapproved initially by the Planning Department and the Building Control Unit because the contractor “forgot” to design in two of the three basins for the building that houses the two new classrooms.
Planning Minister Kurt Tibbetts confirmed a portion of the additional sum was “in relation to what they had to do to fix their original plans.” Mr. Tibbetts said he could not immediately state whether all of the cost overrun was due to design errors.
“They will not be paid for the mistakes that they made,” Mr. Tibbetts said.
Mr. Miller asked whether government might consider employing its own mechanical, electrical and plumbing staff “in house” at the Public Works Department. Currently, the government contracts out all such projects to private sector companies and typically acts as the project overseer or manager.
“From where I sit, the answer is not quite that easy,” Mr. Tibbetts said.
The planning minister said government would have to consider the need to permanently employ what would likely be a significant number of staff against the current need to “hold the line” on overall hiring in the civil service with “the whole world speaking to contracting out stuff.”
Opposition Leader McKeeva Bush said the contract for less than $18,000 was not huge, but it seemed that “a lot of problems had gone on here.”
Mr. Tibbetts said he would discuss the project issues with the Public Works Department.