RUG loses Feringa Building contracting case
The UCE consortium, consisting of the corporations Croonwolter & Dros, Unica Installatietechniek, and Engie Services Noord, calculated the job would cost approximately ninety million euro. This exceeded the RUG’s budget of fifty-six million euro and when negotiations failed to provide a solution, the RUG decided to hire a third party for the job. UCE sued them.
The three corporations said the price was fair and in line with the market, and that the RUG was in the wrong when they abruptly put an end to negotiations.
The court agrees. The RUG had initially budgeted the job at fifty-six million but indicated during negotiations this number wasn’t ‘set in stone’. However, the university had failed to clarify how much more they might be willing to pay.
And so, the court ruled, the RUG isn’t allowed to give the job to a third party. If they do so anyway, the institution will have to pay a fine of half a million euro to UCE. The RUG will have to take another look at UCE’s proposal. But, said the court, ‘it’s then obviously up to the RUG to decide whether they’ll hire UCE after all or end the contracting process’.
Ballast Niedam is set to start construction on the 62,000 square metre Feringa Building on July 1. The original plans projected the building would be finished in 2020; the projections have since shifted to 2023.
The exact consequences of the court’s ruling remain unclear. It’s paramount that the construction and outfitting of the building are properly coordinated, but the RUG now has to re-enter negotiations on the latter.