Cost of building new Horsham Fire Station could rise
‘Raging’ inflation in the construction industry could see the new Horsham Fire Station costing more to build than was planned.
During a West Sussex County Council scrutiny committee meeting on Monday (September 13), Jeremy Hunt, cabinet member for finance, described how the ongoing shortage of materials and labour within the industry could have a knock-on effect.
Mr Hunt estimated that inflation on the likes of timber and cement could be as high as 11 per cent, meaning the council’s original cost estimates ‘might be out on price’.
His words were backed in a report to the meeting, which flagged the long-awaited fire station project as red and said the design stage was showing a ‘significant budget shortfall’.
Despite this set-back, a spokesman said the council was committed to the project.
He added: “We are working to resolve some contractual elements that are key to the success of the project, which we hope to have sorted shortly.
“We remain committed to delivering a future-proofed facility that will continue to serve residents in this county and beyond for many years to come.”
Plans for the £21million facility, which will include a training centre and will be built off the A24 at Highwood Mill, were approved in February.
Building work has yet to start.
The council spokesman added: “Like many other significant building projects around the country, we have experienced some challenging times over the last year and a half, which understandably have had a knock-on effect on this project.
“There are well-documented pressures in the construction industry around staff and materials.
“This has affected the Horsham project just like many other major construction projects.”
Mr Hunt warned that the knock-on effect of the building trade shortages could impact even further than the new fire station.
He told the meeting: “If we find our projects are costing us more, that will inflate our capital programme which means we may well have to look for increased funding – and the increased funding also has a cost implication to our revenue budget.
“It is something we’re monitoring at the moment.”