Row over stadium contract

The carpentry contract for the Forsyth Barr Stadium has been let without the knowledge of the Carisbrook Stadium Trust, bypassing an agreed process between main contractor Hawkins Construction and the trust.

Trust chairman Malcolm Farry confirmed yesterday the contract had been let to Auckland company Wallace Construction, after telling the Otago Daily Times late last week, and again earlier yesterday, he was unaware of the contract.

The result will be an inquiry by the trust into how the situation occurred, and Mr Farry said yesterday he planned to ensure due process was observed.

For now, it appears the contract will stand.

Usually, Hawkins Construction advertises the contracts, and the top three preferred tenderers are put before the trust, with a Hawkins recommendation, for signing off.

But Hawkins failed to do so on this occasion, the first time the problem had occurred.

Mr Farry said yesterday he had "just been made aware in the last half-hour due process has not been followed".

In April, a report to the Dunedin City Council said the tenders for carpentry at the stadium had come back significantly over budget, which meant the trust would have to go back to the market to try to negotiate a more acceptable price.

The trust has attempted to give tenders to local companies, and until now about 50% have been let to companies south of the Waitaki River.

Mr Farry said in April he hoped re-tendering the carpentry could result in it being within the budget.

He said yesterday he was yet to see any information on the contract, but was surprised an Auckland company could do the work more cheaply than an Otago company.

He was "surprised" by the failure in the process.

"[The trust] will make inquiries into what happened.

"Due process has to be followed. Most of the rules have been broken."

The process had worked fine until this point, he said.

"I can only guess some officer not employed by us has acted outside the norm."

Wallace Construction managing director Bruce Wallace yesterday confirmed he had four people at the stadium site.

Mr Wallace said his business model was to hire tradespeople from the city the job was in, and he had employed 60 Wellington people for a job in that city.

Mr Wallace directed the Otago Daily Times to Hawkins project director Andrew Holmes, but Mr Holmes said he was not authorised to talk to the media.

- david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

 

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