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Schools Building Projects Administration

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 7 November 2018

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Questions (81, 82, 85, 86, 96, 97)

Thomas Byrne

Question:

81. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if a clerk of works has been appointed for each building project under the auspices of his Department. [46073/18]

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Thomas Byrne

Question:

82. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if there are clerks of works within his Department staff; and if not, if they are private contractors. [46074/18]

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Thomas Byrne

Question:

85. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of site visits carried out of schools built by a company (details supplied) identified as needing remedial works by school during construction as part of certification processes; the dates of these inspections in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46083/18]

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Thomas Byrne

Question:

86. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the procedures in place for the issuing of completion certificates for schools built in each of the years, 2009 to 2014, 2014 to September 2017 and September 2017 to date in 2018; if this expressly required site visits by clerks of work; if the number or nature of inspections was prescribed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [46084/18]

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Thomas Byrne

Question:

96. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills the oversight exercised in respect of various school building projects before September 2017. [46100/18]

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Thomas Byrne

Question:

97. Deputy Thomas Byrne asked the Minister for Education and Skills if his Department independently, as a customer, ever engaged in quality checking of major school building projects before 2017. [46101/18]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 81, 82, 85, 86, 96 and 97 together.

Under my Departments Design Team Procedures, the primary objective during Stage 4 – Construction is “to administer the Contract effectively so as to achieve a high quality of construction and bring the project to substantial completion on time and within budget all in accordance with the conditions of contract and the Works Requirements”.

When a contract is awarded the Contractor must provide the Employers Representative, before the Starting Date, a detailed programme, in the form set down in the Contract, that will permit effective monitoring of the works.

The Contractor is obliged to submit to the Employer’s Representative monthly progress reports, in the form set down in the Contract, within 7 days after the end of the month.

The Employer’s Representative must schedule regular meetings attended by the Contractor’s Representative and the Employer’s Representative and attended by the Employer’s and Contractor’s personnel, as required. The standard approach on school building projects is to schedule such site meetings on a fortnightly basis through the construction period. A per project schedule of such meetings for the relevant projects is being compiled and will be forwarded to the Deputy.

Separate to the role of Employer’s Representative, which is an external party appointed by the Department under the Public Works Contract, the Department’s own technical staff act as client liaison on school building projects constructed under the Design & Build process. The responsibilities of the client liaison include reporting on progress to the Department; bringing any potential programme delays to the attention of the Department; keeping the school community awaiting completion of the building informed of progress; involving the School Authorities in selecting of internal colour schemes, and ensuring that the contractor is aware of any particular project or school requirements. The client liaison is not involved in the certification of the works.

Under the Building Control (Amendment) Regulations introduced in 2014, an Assigned Certifier must be appointed. Since 2014, the Department has appointed an independent qualified third party to act as Assigned Certifier on all Design and Build school projects.

On school projects designed by the Employer, the lead Architect on the design team usually acts as the Assigned Certifier.

The Assigned Certifier coordinates and implements an inspection plan through the construction process.

At project completion, the Assigned Certifier gathers the ancillary certificates, which are provided by the contractor, its subcontractors and design team, and executes a Certificate of Compliance on Completion.

The Assigned Certifier is not, however, responsible for the supervision of the builder.

Since September 2017, in addition to the Assigned Certifier, the Department now appoints a full-time resident Clerk of Works on all major school construction projects. The role of a Clerk of Works is to represent the interests of the client with regard to ensuring that the quality of both materials and workmanship is in accordance with the architect’s/engineer’s drawings and specifications. This includes inspection of materials and workmanship through the construction process. Clerks of Works are external appointments and are not Department staff.

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