Gympie Mayor Glen Hartwig and Deputy Mayor Cr Hilary Smerdon …. concerned about “embarrassing” mistake 

August 31, 2020

Gympie Regional Council (GRC) will spend an extra $89,000 to re-roof Imbil’s water reservoir after discovering the original estimate for the roofing was 60 per cent below what was needed.

The extra funding will see the project’s cost rise from $619,391 to $708,556.

At GRC’s most recent meeting, Councillors were told the company which had provided designs for the project had made a measuring mistake of three metres.

The error was discovered after an inspection and meant the roof size needed to increase by 60 per cent, requiring extra material and labour for the project.

Officers told Council a caveat in the contract absolved the company of any liability for errors, which meant Council had no option except to foot the bill.

Mayor Glen Hartwig asked if it was usual practice for Council to absolve individuals of obligations in this way.

CEO Shane Gray said it was not normal practice, and while he was unsure how the contract had passed through the Council’s procurement system, the issue was being looked at to prevent a repeat.

The Mayor said it was “embarrassing” the reservoir was not measured correctly and Council had accepted a contract that absolved individuals of any responsibility for that error.

Deputy Mayor Hilary Smerdon said he shared similar concerns, given that measuring the roof area of a tank was as simple as finding the tank’s diameter.

Mr Gray said the error justified why Council was currently reviewing the outsourcing of its design work.

“We’ve got a lot of internal knowledge and we should be utilising our own staff for that reason,” Mr Gray said.

“We weren’t here when this (contract) was let and we didn’t have any control over the contract.

“But it would appear – from a due diligence perspective – the new systems we’re implementing shouldn’t have this problem going forward.”

Councillors were told the extra costs would be absorbed by other Water Business Unit capital projects during the first quarter Budget review.

One source of funding will be the Goomeri Water Treatment Plant, which will require less than its $900,000 allocated budget because some repairs to the plant were paid for as part of the Council’s 2019-20 capital works program.

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