The Government will pay builders working on State projects cash to cover the cost of maintaining sites closed as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, according to Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe.
Work on projects including the national children’s hospital, Grangegorman university campus, and roads such as the Macroom-Ballyvourney route in Co Cork, stalled when the Government extended coronavirus restrictions in March.
Mr Donohoe said on Tuesday the Government will pay builders hired under its public works contracts to cover “agreed reasonable non-pay fixed costs” incurred during the time that sites are closed.
“The ex gratia payment will be determined as a daily rate with reference to the contractor’s fixed costs as set out in their detailed price breakdown on a case-by -case basis,” a department statement said.
The Minister pointed out that Government contracts do not entitle builders to claim costs arising from the delay caused by halting work to comply with anti-coronavirus measures.
However, while sites are closed, builders still face charges for security, insurance, leasing some plant and machinery and safety.
The payment only applies to contractors working on State-funded projects and will run from April 12th until midnight on May 4th, the day before the Government is due to review the lockdown.
The move is one of several measures announced by the Minister that are meant to kick-start State-funded construction that is part of the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 development plan.
Those measures include continuing planning and preparation for Project Ireland 2040 developments, extending tenders by six weeks to allow those bidding for contractors to assess the cost of restrictions, and ensuring that pre-construction design work continues.
Mr Donohoe maintained that the measures would allow building to restart quickly once the ban on non-essential construction was lifted.
“Public investment will continue to play an important role as the economy recovers,” the Minister pointed out.
Project Ireland 2040 includes roads, water treatment, schools, hospitals and other publicly-funded building needed to shore up the Republic’s infrastructure and prepare it for future needs.