Artist's impression of the V&A Dundee, which was originally going to sit in the water, but is now going to be built on land following spiralling costs.

Report finds V&A Dundee had 'little prospect' of being built to budget

Patrick Steel, 18.08.2015
Budget increased by £31.1m over four years
An independent report by the procurement expert John McClelland has found that the V&A Museum of Design Dundee had “from the beginning, little prospect of being delivered for the original budget”.

The budget for the building, designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, increased from £49m in 2011 to £80.1m in 2015.

The primary reason for this, according to the report, was because the budget was based on a lower specification building than the “elite level” design that was submitted for the tender process and eventually selected.

Other factors included the impact of delays to the programme, cost increases and design changes.

The budget increased despite £12m in savings made through compromises that will see the building being constructed on land, rather than directly in the River Tay, as was originally planned. The height of the building will also be reduced.

McClelland also found that there was some “ambiguity about responsibility and accountability for the building project” between Dundee City Council and Design Dundee Limited, a partnership between the V&A, the University of Dundee, Abertay University, Dundee City Council and Scottish Enterprise.

His recommendations to the council include the appointment of a full time in-house project manager for the V&A building who will be responsible for delivering the project on schedule and within the new budget. This post will be supported by a full-time cost manager.

The £80.1m budget is being met by the Scottish Government (£25m), the Heritage Lottery Fund (£12.5m), Creative Scotland (£4.5m), Dundee City Council (£6.5m), GAM Funding (£12.61m), Dundee Waterfront Project (£4m) and a public fundraising campaign (£15m).

Construction of the museum, which was originally scheduled to open in 2014, is due to be completed in December 2017.

Dundee City Council is to meet next Monday to consider the report’s conclusions and recommendations.

Councillor Ken Guild, the convenor of the council’s policy and resources committee, said: “I would like to thank John McClelland for his thorough review into the V&A Museum of Design Dundee construction project and his recommendations to help us take this forward.

“This comprehensive review shows us where lessons need to be learned and I am happy to accept the recommendations.

“I am sure that these can be implemented quickly and that frequent updates can be brought before councillors.

“Construction of the V&A Dundee is now underway and the project is proceeding successfully.”

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