County council forgot to include meeting rooms for chairman and political groups helping to push cost of new Alconbury HQ up by 10 per cent

Artist's impression of the new HQ for Cambridgeshire County Council. Costs have already gone up 10 p

Artist's impression of the new HQ for Cambridgeshire County Council. Costs have already gone up 10 pc, partly because they forgot to include chairman's room and space for political groups. - Credit: Archant

The cost of building Cambridgeshire County Council’s new headquarters at Alconbury Weald has already increased by 10 per cent without a brick being laid.

A new study says the council will now need to buy four acres of land at Alconbury instead of the two acres originally proposed adding an extra £800,000 to the original projected cost of £16.606 million.

Chris Malyon, the council’s deputy chief executive and chief finance officer, also says an office for the chairman and meeting rooms for political parties – six in total – were not included in the “design scope” and have been added.

The commercial and investment committee will be asked to agree to increase the budget for the new ha when it meets next Friday.

RG Carter has been appointed the main contractor and staff and stakeholders are holding talks to agree the final design.

The new offices will house 350 desks, have a room capable of holding 90 people – which can be split into three smaller meeting rooms if required – and will now have extra rooms for political groups and the chairman.

These latter rooms were “an additional request not provisioned for in the original business case” says Mr Malyon.

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Unisex loos will be a feature of the new two storey office block and there will be room to expand the footprint of the building over time.

The council hopes to submit a planning application by the end of next March, hammer out final details throughout the summer, and begin work next November with the building finished by Christmas 2020.

Project managers Faithful and Gould have drafted a cost estimate to reflect the amendments “and to capture the design development to date” says the report.

The costs below reflect this update:

Feasibility Studies (actual cost) £0.137m

Construction Budget £12.2m (inc Cat B fit out)

ICT/FFE Budget £2m

Land Purchase £1.6m (4 acres)

Other (contingencies etc) £2.4m

Total Overall Project Cost £18.337m

Budget difference: £1.731m

The reason for the change in budget is due to the following facts:

The addition of political group rooms (six in total, including a chairperson’s office) were not originally included in the design scope and have subsequently been added, increasing the construction costs and associated professional fees due to the increase in floor area.

The construction budget is therefore required to increase by a total of £580k, based on a budget cost per square metre.

The original brief factored a total land purchase of 2 acres, and 4 acres are required (adding a total of £800k)

Due to the size of the building increasing, associated budgets for ICT, FF &E, fees and contingency allowances have pro-rota increased to reflect this (adding an additional £385k)

Reduction in feasibility costs (previously estimated at £0.171m and these actuals were £0.137m, saving +£34k).

The committee is therefore being asked to agree the £1.731m increase in budget.