Consultants Morrison Low have been asked to review the Ashburton Art Gallery and Heritage Centre project.
The project commenced as far back as 2001 and has been subject to many complications and delays.
The construction cost of the project was budgeted in August 2011 at $6.6m but has cost $7.8m. Other related project expenses increased the cost to $9.7m. The finished building is valued at $10.6m.
The relevant Council resolution at last Thursday's meeting for the review is "That Council undertakes an independent review of the decision making process from the start to the completion of the Ashburton Art Gallery and Heritage Centre building project."
The review will be independent to ensure an objective and unclouded view is provided of what has occurred over the life of the project.
Morrison Low are a consultancy company well suited to this type of work. It is expected they will carry out this work within the next 5 to 6 weeks. Their report will be made public when it is available.
The review will examine the project from beginning to end. It will cover the initial project definition phase, the project structure, the planning, the execution, and the reporting and completion aspects.
The review will examine the contractual procedures employed to manage delays, disruption and additional costs.
Project documentation, Council reports and associated correspondence will be reviewed, and major stakeholders will be spoken to.
From what I have seen, there is nothing to date that would indicate wrong doing by any member of Council staff or an elected member. However I expect short comings throughout the course of delivering the project will be identified, and the reviewers will be asked to make recommendations to avoid these in future.
The expected cost of the independent review will be in the order of $30,000. This will be met from within the Council's overall 2014/2015 budget.