Thursday, 7 February 2019

Ceisteanna (35)

Joan Burton


35. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his plans to ensure detailed oversight of public contracts for building works in view of the recent closure of publicly built schools; if he has had contact with the Departments affected including the Department of Education and Skills; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5803/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

All public works projects that are delivered under the Exchequer-funded element of the Government's capital plan must be procured in accordance with the provisions laid down in the Capital Works Management Framework (CWMF). The CWMF is maintained by the Office of Government Procurement in consultation with the Government Contracts Committee for Construction.

The CWMF is mandated for use on all capital funded construction projects. The provisions include the conditions of the Public Works Contract which outline the functions of the contract administrator; the Employer's Representative (ER) during the construction stage of a project and dedicated guidance on the management and oversight of the project once works commence.

The conditions of the public works contract provide the contractual tools necessary to ensure that a contractor completes a project to the required standard. These include:

- Provision for inspections of the works whether they are executed on or off site;

- A prohibition on the covering up of work without notification to the ER in advance;

- A requirement for all the materials and products that are to be incorporated into the works to be fit for their intended purpose and to meet the required standards;

- A fitness for purpose obligation on the works themselves in design and build contracts;

- The requirement for a detailed inspection notification framework and testing plan;

- An obligation on the contractor to keep the ER up to date on all matters related to the management and supervision of the works;

- To instruct the removal or replacement of works that are not completed in accordance with the specification;

- Where work is not completed in accordance with the specification, to withhold payment until the matter is rectified; and

- To appoint another contractor to rectify the works where the contractor fails to respond in a timely fashion.

The extent to which these tools are utilised and the resources associated will vary depending on a project’s scale and complexity and is a matter for the Contracting Authority with responsibility for the delivery of the project.

In relation to the recent structural issues of schools I understand that there has been engagement between officials from my Department and officials from the Department of Education.