Over the past few months, the Parish Council have been engaged with GF Tomlinson for the refurbishment of the Parish Hall, and their proposed designs have been on display in the Parish Hall. Throughout that time as a Council, we have been clarifying and fine tuning our requirements whilst maintaining at the forefront of our minds the limit to the budget at our disposal. The various reiterations on price have been within bounds and we confidently proceeded to the point where in March GFT were instructed to go out to the market place and competitively tender for the labour and materials to deliver the project. This did coincide with the COVID-19 lockdown but, GFT assured us that they had no serious concerns about their capability to deliver the project to time and cost. Therefore, it was with significant astonishment that last week, we received their tendered price way beyond our expectations and our affordability, at £1.2m. Although we acknowledge the COVID-19 virus has imposed a serious impact on the delivery of the project, we cannot fathom that solely for the reasons below, the cost has risen by nearly 50%. The Parish Council's own appointed independent assessor has also confirmed the reasons set out below:
a) social distancing has imposed restrictions on GFT's working conditions which have virtually doubled the length of time to deliver the project.
b) the global lock down has meant significant shortages in the availability of construction materials sourced from all over the world. Their unavailability and rising prices have adversely affected GFT's supply chain.
c) GFT's subcontractors have increased their labour rates to cover risks associated with COVID-19.
On Tuesday, members of the Council's Remodelling Group held a ZOOM Meeting with senior NEDDC Procurement specialists and advisers from SCAPE, to discuss the way forward. The Council expressed most forcefully, at their concern as to how the cost of the project had escalated so alarmingly and become so totally unaffordable. Whilst NEDDC and SCAPE, confirmed the adverse impact caused by COVID-19 in other projects that they were engaged with, even they were surprised at GFT's tendered price. To that end, they have offered their strong support to proactively participate in further discussions with GFT, to seek a mutually agreed solution.
SCAPE have proposed to set up a meeting with GFT within the next week. Other meetings may need to be arranged. The agenda for the first meeting will concentrate on:
i) a detailed explanation of why GFT's tendered price of £1.2m is so far removed from their feasibility price of £0.832m.
ii) what opportunities are immediately available to value engineer the costs back within budget. This may address ways to reduce the length of time to deliver the project, if the Government's stance on social distancing relaxes. It could also examine compromises that the Council could consider on the specification.
iii) deferral of the project for a period which may allow some sense of normality to return to the construction industry, hopefully leading to a reduction in the cost of labour and materials. How long that deferral period could last is up for discussion.
At this stage we cannot foresee what outcomes will arise from the above. The Council remain vigilant in their pursuit to deliver this project within budget. If that is not practicable, then a review of other options will be initiated. Throughout this difficult period, the Council will endeavour to keep residents and users of the Parish Hall informed.
Thank you for your patience.
Posted: Wed, 24 Jun 2020 14:41 by Charlotte Taylor