Trinity’s Printing House Square is due to be finished this July, Trinity’s bursar has said, following almost a year of delays and concerns over labour issues on the building site.
Printing House Square is one of a number of accommodation projects College is embarking upon in order to create housing for its students, but it has been shrouded in controversy for several months.
In an email statement to The University Times, Trinity’s Bursar Veronica Campbell said: “Board was advised in December that the new completion date for PHS is July 2020.”
The University Times reported in September that the project was less than 50 per cent completed at the end of August, far behind where College hoped it would be.
Internal College Board documents, obtained by The University Times, showed that just 48.86 per cent of the 250-bed complex was finished on August 30th, far short of the 66.16 per cent of the project that Trinity planned to have finished by the same point.
Earlier this month, The University Times reported that a “€10 per week premium” on rent for Printing House Square was mooted in a paper that was due to go to a meeting of Trinity’s Finance Committee, along with a proposal for a four per cent increase for all on-campus rates.
Thomas Deane, a media relations officer in Trinity, subsequently confirmed to The University Times that the four per cent rent increase would not come up for discussion when the committee meets, but did not address the Printing House Square premium.
Deane wrote that “at some stage an increase of some sort will have to be considered”, but did not respond to a question about whether a proposed €10 per week premium on Printing House Square will be discussed.
“Anybody seeking an increase would have to include this on the agenda and it would then be discussed”, Deane said. “This has not happened.”
Printing House Square has been shrouded in controversy since July, when the Dublin Inquirer reported on the pay issues faced by apprentice plumbers working for GMG Mechanical, one of the companies subcontracted by main contractor Bennett Construction Limited.
The University Times subsequently revealed that some 30 workers were being illegally underpaid on the site.
When planning permission was granted for the build, it was projected to be completed in 2018. But a number of setbacks created by An Taisce and An Bord Pleanála held up the complex. An Bord Pleanála argued that the construction could compromise the existing aesthetic of Dublin city centre.
When these issues were eventually resolved, the project was then given a revised completion date of August 1st, 2019, in time to house students for the 2019/20 academic year.
At the beginning of July 2019, the project was nine per cent behind schedule.
Despite these delays, the project has not exceeded its original total budget of over €62 million, according to the documents. Over €40 million of this is to go to Bennett Construction, with around €27 million of this already paid.