Friday, March 03, 2006

No End To Scottish Parliament Fiasco

The disastrous Scottish Parliament project was completed pre-blogging. But yesterday's partial roof collapse shows you can never finally draw the line under a real government spending fiasco.

Just as a reminder, the original cost estimate was a range of £10-40m (1997 White Paper). The eventual cost was £431m- more than ten times over the high end of the original range of estimates.

The reasons are familiar, but are worth recalling as a grim reminder of how such grandiose government projects invariably waste so much money. According to the official inquiry:

  • Original estimate far too low- "was never going to be sufficient" (an excellent example of government "salami tactics"- see previous blog)
  • Gold plating- "Whenever there was a conflict between quality and cost, quality was preferred"
  • Timetable far too optimistic- "Whenever there was a conflict between early completion and cost, completion was preferred without in fact any significant acceleration being achieved"
  • Pig ignorance- "Not until it was too late to change was there any real appreciation of the complexity of the Architect’s evolving design and its inevitable cost"
  • Commercial naivety- "The decision to adopt 'construction management' was taken without an adequate evaluation or understanding of the extent of risk involved"

So now the roof's fallen in literally, as well as financially.

And there are no prizes for working out what this tells us about, say, the 2012 lunacy.

PS Evidently this roof collapse is something that should have been expected: "The design was the concept of Enric Miralles, the late Catalan architect who attracted the headline "El Collapso" when the roof of a sports centre he designed fell down in Spain."

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