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Question

439. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality regarding the Cork Prison construction project if her attention has been drawn to major additions that have been made to the project specifications, which would have been known prior to the construction tender being awarded and planning permission being sought; the reason for the changes in the plans; if she will list the alterations and if they need additional planning permission; if a delay in the completion of the project will result; her views on the matter. [1293/15]

440. Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the tender contract award cost for Cork Prison and the current estimate for completing the contract. [1294/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): I propose to take Questions Nos. 439 and 440 together.
The New Cork prison project is a design & build project. The contractual construction cost is €33,706,391 excluding VAT.
The current estimate for completing the construction contract is €35.5m (excluding VAT). The only significant addition to the original Cork prison construction project is the inclusion of a purpose built recreation block.
The inclusion of the recreation block was a result of a review of the completed extension to Midlands Prison and detailed consideration of the feedback received from prison management. The Irish Prison Service (IPS) concluded that an insufficient amount of prisoner recreation space was provided for in the Cork prison plans as originally tendered. It was agreed that separate Recreation Halls /Areas on each landing were not adequate for the recreational needs of the proposed prisoner population in the new prison in Cork.
Accordingly, the IPS reviewed the plans for the proposed new Cork Prison in relation to the indoor recreation /amenity space provided for in the exemplar design which had been issued for tender purposes. An information notice was issued in September 2013 informing all of the shortlisted tenderers of an emerging requirement for the construction of a recreation block during the course of the project. The bidders were advised that the recreation block would be called up by way of a change order with the cost being determined in accordance with their submitted rates.
The contract was awarded in December 2013. The design of the recreation block was developed over a period of several weeks and a final design proposal was recommended to the IPS Capital Projects Oversight Board (CPOB) by the IPS Project Team. The recommendation of the Project Team, and costs for the construction of the block were approved by the CPOB in March 2014. As the block was not included in the tender scope of works it has been incorporated into the works by way of a change order. The cost of the recreation block is €1.63m exclusive of VAT.
No additional planning consent was required as the design of the additional recreation block has been developed to ensure it sits in the approved design with no material impact.
The successful bidder has fully incorporated the recreation block into their programme and consequently no delay in the completion of the project should occur due to the inclusion of this requirement. The anticipated duration of the programme is 20 months and the target date for practical completion is July 2015.