Court will rule on Feringa Building dispute in 3 weeks

A judge will have to decide whether the RUG violated the tender regulations for the future Feringa Building.
By Rob Siebelink / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen

This was the result of a second Groningen court session where the university and the UCE consortium of installation companies faced each other.

Special consortium UCE had been in the running to supply the technical furnishings in the Feringa Building for a long time. Recently, the RUG informed the UCE they wouldn’t get the job, citing the high price of the consortium’s tender.

The RUG then hired a third party for the job. The consortium says that hire wasn’t allowed and is trying to force the university, in court, to give the job to UCE.

Second opinion

UCE quoted ninety million for the job, a price they claimed conformed to the market. A second opinion supposedly came to the same conclusion. But the RUG says the consortium artificially inflated the price, and that a different installation company offered a quote that was ten million less.

Mark Lim, the lawyer for the consortium, argued that the RUG should have negotiated and even started a new tender process.

Manipulation

But instead the university knowingly violated the tender regulations, he says. ‘The RUG, rather than UCE, is manipulating the procurement process. The RUG is the unsympathetic contractor who only wants to pay the lowest price and still get the best work.’

He accuses the university of purposely trying to ruin the consortium’s reputation by spreading ‘untruths’, like claiming the consortium used threats to discourage other companies from working with the university.

‘Full well’

On Monday, RUG lawyer Peter Hoekstra reiterated that ‘UCE knows full well that its quote was too high’. The consortium failed to look for cheaper alternatives and calculated a price increase that was way too high, he said. ‘UCE is simply extremely expensive.’

The court said that due to ‘the complexity of the case’, it will need three weeks to reach a verdict, which is now planned for Friday, June 21.

Nederlands

04 June 2019 | 4-6-2019, 11:35