Dundee’s V&A museum has come under fire for the way the costs, originally estimated at £45 m for the project were allowed to double. It has now concluded that it will carry an £80m plus price tag and the costing was not “sufficiently robust” to address the building’s “unique challenges”. The independent review also said that more frequent and direct reporting to councillors “would have been helpful”. The new museum is set to be the centrepiece of Dundee’s £1bn waterfront regeneration project. It is now known that when choosing the design, it may not have been possible to appreciate the complexity that could result in significantly higher costs.
The procurement expert John McClelland made a number of recommendations which will be considered by councillors. He was commissioned by councillors earlier this year to examine the reasons for the spiralling cost of the project. He was also asked to identify lessons that could be learned. His report concluded that the international benchmarking approach, which formed the basis of the original project cost estimates, was not robust enough to address the challenges associated with Japanese architect Kengo Kuma’s award-winning design.
The report said: “As the detailed design process moved forward, it became apparent that the technical requirements and construction method involved would place real pressure on the budget.” Referring to the lack of reporting to councillors since 2011, Mr MClelland said: “Although a partnership joint venture, the council carries a significant element of the risks involved in this transformational investment in the city and it is important that scrutiny and assurance arrangements are effective.”
It is estimated 270,000 people could visit the museum every year and this would be a key tourist attraction for the area.The outcome of the review will be considered by councillors on Monday 24 August.