Thursday, 1 February 2018

Questions (45)

Bernard Durkan


45. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which a company’s (details supplied) collapse might affect the school building programme here in the short, medium or long term; if specific action needs to be taken to minimise the impact in the medium or long term; if projects here which are the subject of normal conciliation are due for payment by his Department in the short term; if the process in this regard can be expedited; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4889/18]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

The liquidation of the company referred to by the Deputy does not directly affect any school building projects other than the Schools Bundle 5 Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme.

In the case of PPPs, the Department's contract is with a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) rather than with a construction contractor. The SPV then enters into a separate contract with a construction company to procure the construction element of the contract. In this way, it differs from traditional school building projects.

In particular, where a liquidation event arises with the construction contractor in a PPP project, it is the responsibility of the PPP operator to ensure that construction is completed. The PPP operator is incentivised to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, as the State does not commence payments under the contract until construction is complete.

In regard to conciliation, this is a form of dispute resolution which is included in the suite of Public Works contracts under which all major school building projects (except for PPPs) are delivered. The terms of the conciliation process, including the rights of the respective parties and the timeframes for the processing of conciliations, are laid out clearly in the Public Works Contract. My Department adheres strictly to these provisions in the processing of any conciliation on a school building project.

Dispute mechanisms in PPPs are set out in the Project Agreement and are different to public works contracts given the complexities associated with PPPs. In any event, responsibility for the resolution of disputes with sub-contractors in the context of PPPs rests with the SPV.

Question No. 46 answered with Question No. 29.