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Marked failure in the planning and implementation of the Storting’s construction project

​“The Office of the Auditor General’s review of the Storting’s construction project identifies weaknesses in the planning and implementation of the project. Independently of the errors which have been made by the suppliers, weaknesses in the Storting’s own follow-up of the project were an important factor behind the sharp rise in costs. It is problematic that the Presidium of the Storting did not ensure sufficient capacity and competence for the planning of such a large and complex construction project,” says vice chairman of the Board of Auditors General, Karl Eirik Schjøtt-Pedersen, who has led the work on the report.

Published 6/6/2017 2:00 PM

The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation of the Storting’s construction project; Prinsens gate 26, new post and goods reception facility and entrance tunnel, was submitted to the Storting on 6 June.

The Storting (the Norwegian parliament) asked the Office of the Auditor General to review the construction project as a result of substantial cost deviations. The Office of the Auditor General has investigated the financial development and progress of the project during the project period, the reason for changes in costs, schedule and scope, and whether the Storting has obtained adequate information punctually.

“The Storting's administrative management has placed greater emphasis on rapid completion and the building's functions than on limiting costs. Both investigations and quality assurance have been poor,” says Schjøtt-Pedersen. “Better quality assurance could have identified weaknesses in the project. We also believe it to be a matter of some concern that the Storting's administrative management has not followed the government's own procurement regulations,” he says.

The main conclusions of the investigation

  • The construction project has seen a sharp rise in costs, which can only partly be explained by the change in nature of the project.
  • Greater emphasis has been placed on the schedule and functionality than on ensuring cost control.
  • The project organisation has been inappropriate given the complexity and scope of the project.
  • Inadequate investigations have been used as a basis for the expensive choices that have been made.
  • Better quality assurance could have identified weaknesses associated with the construction project.
  • The Storting has no regulations to ensure the good and effective implementation of major construction projects.
  • Expansion of the project engineering agreement did not follow the applicable procurement regulations.
  • The Storting’s decisions to award funding for the project were taken on an incomplete basis.
  • There is a need to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the bodies within the Storting as regards administrative matters.

The report has identified weaknesses in the understanding of roles between the Presidium of the Storting as the Storting's supreme administrative authority and the Storting as the national funding authority. “The Office of the Auditor General considers it to be a matter of some concern that the Storting was not informed that the cost of the project would increase over and above the amount specified in the budget proposal, even though the cost increase was known to the Storting’s administrative management at least a week before the Storting approved the budget,” says Schjøtt-Pedersen.

About the construction project

The construction project covers the refurbishment of Prinsens gate 26 and the construction of a new post and goods reception facility under Wessels plass and a tunnel from Rådhusgata to the post and goods reception facility. The plan was originally for the building to be completed in August 2017. As of May 2017, the plan is now for Prinsens gate 26 to be completed in October 2018, and for the post and goods reception facility and the tunnel to be completed in September/October 2018. 

Foss withdrew

The chairman of the Board of Auditors General, Per-Kristian Foss, acted as second vice president in the Presidium of the Storting from 8 October 2009 to 30 September 2013. Foss is disqualified from participating in the case concerning the Storting’s construction project and withdrew from further deliberations following the Board's decision concerning disqualification on 23 May. Vice chairman Karl Eirik Schjøtt-Pedersen took over responsibility for the case, including the task as general manager of the entire proceedings, which included personnel and resource responsibility, and again reviewed the basis and premises for the conclusions presented in the report.

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