Education is not the focus of this blog. Prior reference to the Department of Education is made as an aside.
Construction and the construction industry is, however, a focus. It is instructive to get a judgment on anything, instead of the usual bureaucratic fog of words. So check out this article from “Construction Manager”
“Ireland: Setting benchmark costs
From a UK perspective, school building costs in Ireland are almost shockingly low. In February 2006, the Department of Education set a maximum build cost for primary and secondary schools of €1,230/m2 (£1,095), including VAT at 13.5%, but excluding site preparation and groundworks, professional fees and contractors prelims.
In November 2009, the DoE dropped the building cost limit to just €990m2 (£880). In fact, recent tenders have been coming in below that: according to Galway-based contractor JSL, the going rate for the building element is €600-€750/m2.
But the specifications expected in the two countries really aren’t comparable. Classroom sizes are smaller in Irish schools, there is no catering provision or dining halls, while floor, wall, ceiling and door finishes are all basic. Steve McGee FCIOB, JSL’s director of construction, says that it’s like visiting a “two-star hotel” compared to four stars in the UK.
Secondary schools are all individually designed, but primaries are based on the DoE’s “generic repeat design”: four variations each on 8, 12 and 16-classroom schools.
The DoE has also built “rapid delivery” primary and secondary schools using prefabricated timber SIPs or concrete panels in just 20 weeks. And it recently tendered two Passivhaus primaries, although McGee says the DoE was disappointed with the cost: JSL’s unsuccessful bid was €1,600/m2.
Ireland’s strict cost limits no doubt galvanised the market and put pressure on suppliers and product manufacturers. Unified procurement also meant no variation in procedures around the country, so learning from one project could be taken to the next. But the market struggled with the Passivhaus project.”