Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Update on concerns about delays with Olympia completion

Yesterday, I mentioned that I had highlighted my concerns about the possible knock-on effects of the unfortunate delay to completion of the new Olympia swimming facility.   I spoke further about this on Wave 102 news earlier today - you can hear this by clicking 'play' below:
The City Architect has advised me:

“Mansell had never offered the pool on 24 December 2012. They had indicated that they expected the building works to be substantially complete and that in the post holiday period they would be concentrating on finalising services and commissioning of plant. They had, up to mid-November, maintained their advised Practical Completion target date as 15 February 2013. The Council would then have it's own commissioning period of approximately 6 weeks before opening to the public. These dates had previously been reported to the Pool Project Board.

The first indication the Council had to any delay beyond the hand over date 15 Feb was at an ad-hoc project review meeting, requested by the contractor, on 21 November. They advised that they were reviewing programme completion and intimated a revised completion date between end of April and end of May. At this meeting they were unable to give exact timescales as they were still considering mitigation options. I advised them of the Project Board meeting on 27 Nov and accepted that the later date should be advised to the Board. I duly reported same to the Board with a request that I attend the Leisure and Culture Board meeting on 5 Dec.

Mansell still seek to identify mitigation options.”

It appears from this that as late as mid-November, completion was on target but now I understand the pool is unlikely to be open until around 24th June.  There is a clear project management issue here and my further concern remains its impact on the wider waterfront and V and A project.

Clearly demolition of the old Olympia is key to all this and it is now being delayed by having to stay open until at least June.   I sought clarification as to exactly the impacts of this from the council’s Director of City Development but all that is clear from his response is that nothing is clear.

The Director of City Development last week advised me:

“We are still assessing the implications of the delayed completion and, therefore, I cannot at present give you any detailed advice on this matter.”

I have now written again to the Director, copied to the Chief Executive, stating that clarity on how the delays affecting the new Olympia impact on the V and A at Dundee and Waterfront Project timescales must be given as a matter of some urgency.  

It doesn’t take a mastermind to work out that a four month delay in the new Olympia opening impacts on the ability to move forward demolition of the old Olympia building and to other timescales.     The V and A at Dundee and wider Waterfront project is of paramount importance to the city and clarity and transparency from Dundee City Council on this matter is imperative.