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Construction scandal — The University of Copenhagen now has the support of the Liberal Alliance education and research spokesman Henrik Dahl in the dispute over who should pay for cost increases to the Niels Bohr Building.
“I honestly find it strange that the University of Copenhagen has to pay for others’ mistakes.”
This is what Henrik Dahl, spokesman for education and science for the Liberal Alliance Party, writes on Twitter.
The Niels Bohr Building is expected to cost DKK 2.9 billion, or DKK 1.3 billion more than originally planned, and is two and a half years behind schedule.
It is the Danish Building and Property Agency, and thereby the Danish government, that owns and is responsible for the construction, while UCPH is to lease the building.
An auditors’ report by Ernst & Young has come out with a scathing critique of the property agency’s handling of the construction. Still, the Danish government wants the university to pay for DKK 445m of the extra funding, as the Ministry for Transport, Building and Housing has calculated that the amount has been used for so-called “value-adding construction”.
It is difficult to understand why UCPH has to pay for faults that are not theirs, so I have to defend the university in this case
This will result in UCPH having extra rent payments of DKK 32 million a year.
UCPH says, however, that they only requested changes to the construction totalling DKK 35 million.
The dispute is now to be settled through arbitration. And in the meantime, Henrik Dahl, Liberal Alliance’s spokesman on education and research, supports UCPH.
“It is difficult to understand why UCPH has to pay for faults that are not theirs, so I have to defend the university in this case. UCPH is the innocent party,” says Henrik Dahl to the University Post and continues:
“This will negatively affect the UCPH budget and the researchers and students. It is a general principle that the person who has made the foul-up is responsible. So it needs to be put on someone else’s budget,” he says, and adds that this is his personal opinion.
Minister of Transport, Building and Housing Ole Birk Olesen said on 2nd November 2017, when he presented the auditor’s report from Ernst & Young, that UCPH would be exempted from paying most of the extra expense.
“Some of the extra expenses are due to the university requesting changes to the building, and the university must, of course, pay for this. But this is not the largest part. The largest part of the extra bill comes from having to replace a contractor and carry out new plumbing and electrical work,” the Minister said to the Danish daily Politiken.
According to the Danish newspaper Information, Ole Birk Olesen now has no further comments due to the state arbitration case.