Thursday 22 February 2024
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Cost for new East Leake primary school to rise by £1.2m

Inflation and delays in land transfers are expected to cause the cost of a new 315-place primary school in East Leake to rise by £1.2m.

Nottinghamshire County Council says the costs of materials and labour are causing fees to rise, with steel, timber and computer chips among the materials with surging costs.

The new school, in Rempstone Road,  is expected to open to pupils in September next year.

A temporary school ‘village’ is currently being used for teaching in nearby Sheepwash Way during construction.

Once open, the new building will also include a 26-place nursery and will be operated by the Spencer Academies Trust as Millside Spencer Academy.

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Council papers confirm the project was initially budgeted at £13.6m but latest forecasts predict an 8.82 per cent rise.

As well as material costs rising, fees for labour have “continued to escalate” due to a shortage of workers in the construction industry.

Construction on the temporary village was also delayed by two weeks due to complications with the land transfer, causing “complexities” in starting construction works.

The Conservative-led authority said negotiations took place to accelerate the construction plans, which enabled the temporary site to open this month, but caused further increased costs.

There was also a separate, five-week delay with the land transfer for the permanent school itself, leading to a three-week reduction to the construction programme.

It has enabled the completion date for the permanent school to be brought forward to August 21, 2023, but led to increased costs with the contractor.

In total, the project – which includes both the temporary village and the permanent school – is due to cost the authority £14.8m.

In a report, Derek Higton, the council’s service director for place and communities, said: “The construction industry is facing substantial increases in costs for materials, labour, and plant.

“The most impacted materials are steel, timber and computer chips, all of which are significant elements in complex construction projects such as school builds.

“Labour costs also continue to escalate due to the current reduction in labour availability in the construction industry. Shortages are reported across most trades and consultancy roles within the industry.”

On the land transfer issues, he added: “Arc Partnership negotiated an accelerated construction programme with the construction contractor to mitigate the delay and ensure that the school could hand over.

“This has resulted in increased costs.

“Arc Partnership carried out negotiations with the contractor and realised a three-week reduction to the [permanent school] construction programme.

“This has subsequently brought the completion date forward to August 21, 2023, which provides the academy sufficient time to move into the new building upon completion.”

The authority has also confirmed a new 210-place primary school in Bingham, which opened its doors this month in the Roman’s Quarter development, will require a further £125,000.

Papers confirm this is because of extra works needed to the footpath at the northern boundary of the school, which will provide pedestrian access to the development.

It will take the total for the Bingham school up to £8.039m.

Councillor Francis Purdue-Horan (Ind), who represents Bingham East on the council, welcomed the school’s completion but raised concerns about continued rising costs.

He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “The reality is, like all major projects the council is undertaking, costs are going through the roof.

“The rising costs at these schools could be the tip of the iceberg.

“The additional cost for Bingham Primary School will lead to safer access for pupils, staff and parents at our new school, however, this should have been planned earlier.

“Both additional costs represent a significant financial hit for the council.”

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