CONCERNS have been voiced that a Cork flood relief scheme may be in jeopardy due to rising construction costs.
Contracts had been due to be signed, with work expected to begin within weeks, on the Glashaboy Flood Relief Scheme in Glanmire, but the preferred bidder has raised concerns at the impact construction inflation may have upon delivery of the scheme.
When the scheme went to tender last year, it is understood the preferred bid was in the region of €14m, but with construction inflation currently running at about 25%, such work would likely now cost in the region of €17m. Rules governing public works procurement preclude price negotiation after tender.
Cork City Council, the body awarding the contract for the flood relief works, said it could not comment while procurement was still underway.
Similarly, a spokesperson for the Office of Public Works (OPW), the body funding the scheme, told The Echo: “As there is currently an ongoing procurement process to appoint a contractor for the Glashaboy Flood Relief Scheme, the OPW cannot make any comment”.
In 2012, a severe flood caused tens of millions of euros worth of damage to properties in Glanmire and Sallybrook, and the Glashaboy scheme had been designed by the OPW to protect homes and businesses in the area.
Colm Burke, Fine Gael TD for Cork North Central, said he had raised the matter in the Dáil on Thursday as he was concerned that procurement rules mean “there is no wiggle room for agreement to be reached”.
Deputy Burke said he understood that if the preferred bidder was no longer in a position to sign the proffered contract, the OPW would then go back to the next lowest tender and work through tenders until a decision was reached.
Pádraig O’Sullivan, Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North Central, said the development was extremely concerning.
“We had really hoped last winter might be the last winter residents would be open to flooding,” he said.