West Kowloon authority may award contract as early as end of July allowing work to start
Construction work on the troubled West Kowloon Cultural District project could start as early as the end of this month when the foundation contract for the first facility is awarded.
In response to enquiries by Construction Post, a spokeswoman for the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority said the contract for the foundations for the Xiqu Centre would be awarded “around end July or early August 2013”.
A total of eleven tenders were returned early last month when the authority called tenders at the end of April.
The authority finalised the design of the Xiqu Centre, which is to be used for performances of Chinese opera, in December last year when a design team comprising of Canadian firm Bing Thom Architects and Hong Kong firm Ronald Lu & Partners won a design competition for the facility.
Engineering consultant Atkins assisted the architects in designing the below ground elements for Xiqu Centre.
“The Xiqu Centre is a technically challenging project as it is sited within a cramped urban area and will sit directly above the MTR West Rail metro tunnels and the southern end of Austin station,” Atkins said in its press release last January.
Several foundation contractors such as Kin Wing Engineering, Tysan Foundation and China State Construction Engineering (Hong Kong) did not respond to enquiries by Construction Post asking if they had taken part in the tender.
A spokeswoman for Chun Wo Construction and Engineering said the company had submitted a tender.
The government’s showpiece project at West Kowloon has been beset by delays and public concern over cost overruns.
In 2008, the Legislative Council approved a one-off upfront endowment of HK$21.6 billion for construction of the project.
The latest ball-park estimate by the authority and the Home Affairs Bureau puts total estimated cost of construction at HK$47.1 billion, according to a paper issued late last month to Legco’s Joint Subcommittee to Monitor the Implementation of the West Kowloon Cultural District Project.
The paper said the budget for the Xiqu Centre as approved by the authority’s board earlier this year was HK$2.7 billion.
The bureau said “rigorous value engineering exercises” had been carried out to cut costs for the facility.
It said as of mid-2013, the total estimated cost was about HK$2.5-2.6 billion at money-of-the-day (MOD) prices inclusive of design fees.
“This has included savings in structure, theatre equipment and façade, opimisation of the use of floor spaces, reduction in the floor area of the RDE [retail, dining and entertainment] facilities and opimisation of the basement car parking arrangement,” the bureau said.