The stalled construction, which is designated to be an emergency medical unit for Black Lion Specialised Hospital under the Addis Abeba University (AAU), is still in peril as the budget allocated for the project can only cover 70pc of the project.
Started with an initial project cost of 191 million Br, it’s investment later rose as high as over 300 million Br, as a result of to repeated design changes. The project was awarded to Tekleberhan Ambaye Construction Plc (TACON) in April 2015. TACON was granted the project to finalise and deliver the facility to the project owner, AAU, within a year. However, the project was delayed for two years following design, location and structural changes.
“The amendments doubled the size of the project,” said Mulegeta Ademete, managing director of the project from TACONs side, “and the design is also extensive.”
The changes came after the construction company has completed with the earthwork; however, it could not proceed with the construction as the design had to get a new building permit, according to Mulegeta.
Proceeding with the new design and building permit, TACON has finalised the structural works of the facility in five months. But again the client came with another architectural modification for the second time, explains Mulegeta.
“This modification brought a cumulative effect on the project, which is more than 50pc of the whole project’s budget,” said Mulgeta, “because of this difference we needed an approval.”
Due to that, the project was stalled for nine months until the cost of the project was revised. The architectural design modification forced the project owner to revise the total project of the facility to 255 million Br.
The architectural modification was needed as the University wanted to expand the rooms of the facility to 300 from the initial plan of 90 beds, according to Yared Germa, project manager from AAU. Currently, the hospital serves over half a million patients a year.
The revision was essential, according to Abebe Dinku (Prof) a lecturer of Civil Engineering at AAU, stating that the hospital is the largest referral hospital in the country and clients who seek medical treatment from the hospital is increasing at a considerable rate.
“The upgrade was made for the benefit of people,” he told Fortune.
However, the upgrade was not followed by a smooth process as the updated budget could not match the size of the revised project.
“It can only finish 70pc of the project, as the project needs over 300 million Br,” Mulugeta told Fortune. The company expects that the only money could last for the coming eight months.
This will leave the emergency room with no light fitting, sanitary fixtures, generator, elevator and transformer. However, due to the delay, patients going to the hospital for emergency treatment are practically suffering as many patients are seen everywhere on the hallway floor of the emergency room. This includes women going there to deliver.
Black Lion is the largest general public hospital and one of only two university hospitals in the country. In 1998 the hospital, which is also the largest referral hospital in the country was transferred to AAU by the Ministry of Health (MoH). It is staffed by senior specialists. Along with medical treatments, the Hospital trains undergraduate and postgraduate medical students, dentists, nurses, pharmacists, and laboratory technicians. Postgraduate medical education is also available through the Department of Internal Medicine.
It enrols 8,000 to 9,000 students within 109 under and postgraduate programs training as medical students and has 3,400 employees, where 700 are health professionals and 1,200 are health technique professionals including nurses and lab technicians. Recently the University hired Yotek Construction Plc to construct a 12-storey dormitory for 2,000 medical science students of Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital for 700 million Br.
“We also face a shortage of foreign currency to import finishing material and equipment,” said Yared.
But for Begziabhere Alebel (PhD), an expert with vast experience in the construction industry and currently working as a managing director of Ultimate Plan Plc, this project demonstrates incompetence and improper project management. He also believes that the messes could have been reduced if a proper feasibility study was conducted prior to implementation.
“Until the project is completed, the management of the hospital has to rent another building to avoid the restrains and inconvenience on patients,” he told Fortune.
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