Life-changing News

$2,068 per square metre cost of new headquarters not bloated

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has rejected accusations that the cost of its new headquarters under construction is inflated compared to square metre cost of such buildings in Africa.

square metre cost

According to the regulator, the $2,068 per square metre cost of the project compares favorably with data from the Africa Property and Construction Cost Guide 2021/22’s $2,658 per square metre and 2022/23 cost of $2,720 per square metre as average construction costs for Prestige High Rise Office spaces in Africa.

The BoG pointed out that even though the comparable data from the Africa Property and Construction Cost Guide relates to Prestige High Rise Office spaces, the unique features of a Central Bank, including vaults and security installations rank higher than the considerations for the former.

Conspicuously, BoG failed to provide the total cost of the reviewed project to debunk the $250 million cost in the public domain.

It is conspicuous because the project is 50% complete.

Addressing a press conference in Accra to address claims of bloated cost, Governor of BoG, Dr Ernest Addison said “this makes the figure for the Bank’s building more competitive”.

Explaining why the cost of the building was reviewed upwards, Dr Addison said the need to reconfigure the spatial requirements in order to meet all relevant statutory requirements and functionality of the building resulted in modifications of the initial design concept to the current gross floor area in excess of 100,000 square metres.

From 73,000 to 100,000 square metres

He said total gross floor area was increased by 27,000 square metres from 73,000 square metres in the first design to 100,000 square metres in the new design.

Elements of the reviewed design

The new design also includes a 6-storey amenities block, upper ground podium, lower ground podium, ancillary facilities, energy farm, treatment plants, and security gate houses.

The project consists of three main blocks namely the Tower, Urban and Amenities Blocks, including basements, podium and ancillary facilities.

The tower block was reduced from 25-storeys in the first design to 20 in new design.

The new design added an 8-storey Urban Block which was not in the first design.

The car parking facility was also reduced from a four-level basement in the first design to a three-level basement in the new design.

An Auditorium in the first design is however not included in the new design.

Sustainable design concepts

Apart from meeting the requirements of all relevant building codes, the new building has incorporated Sustainable Design Concepts, such as energy conservation, water conservation, material selection, recycling and reuse of waste (liquid and solid), humane adaptation, among others.

$3.4m contract to MULTICAD as project managers

A contract of about $3.4 million ($3,450,417) was also awarded to MULTICAD, a Ghanaian consultancy firm which had partnered other consultants in all the identified projects. This amount is about 3.36% of the contract sum.

Dr Addison disclosed that the decision to build a new headquarters for the beleaguered bank is not a recent one, but one that was taken well over three decades ago.

He explained that the search for new grounds to house a modern edifice too serve as Head Office for the BoG began in the 1990s.

In 2012, the bank was allocated an unnumbered 5.19-acre land at Accra Central by the Lands Commission, but this parcel of land had issues which prevented the bank from going ahead to develop it for its purposes.

He explained that the Bank could not have access to the land since the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration refused to give the Bank vacant possession on the grounds that they had never agreed to give up ownership of the land.

They therefore continued the search for a suitable piece of land to serve as BoG’s Head Office throughout the period 2013 to 2016.

He further explained that in 2018, the Bank approached SIC to acquire its vacant land at Ridge, close to the Ridge Hospital.

Dr Addison said government then issued an Executive Instrument to allow BoG acquire that land, while the SIC was duly compensated.

This development paved the way for the Bank to plan the building of its new Head Office, taking into consideration the need to ensure the building meets all the requirements of a modern Central Bank, similar to its counterparts in Abuja and Dakar.

This new building will include provision for data centers, currency processes, vaults, and other sensitive installations.

Governor Addison said, “It is not just a simple ordinary building. Let me re-emphasize that the Bank followed all the necessary public procurement processes in this endeavor. No procurement laws were broken.”

Dr Addison said the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) by a letter dated January 29, 2020, conveyed its approval to the Bank

According to him, the approval to use the shortlisted contractors for the restricted tender also revised downward the estimated cost of the project from $100 million ($100,857,942.48) to     $81.8 million ($81,882,640) without any justification.

He stated that said after evaluation of tenders were received, the Entity Tender Committee (ETC) of the Bank at its meeting held on August 6, 2020, considered Tender Evaluation Panel’s recommendation, and approved the award of contract for the project to Messrs Goldkey Properties Limited at the cost of   $121 million ($121,078,517.94), the least cost evaluated bid, under Turnkey

On the Designing and Building contract arrangements, the Governor said the ETC further directed concurrent approval to be sought from the Central Tender Review Committee (CTRC) of the Ministry of Finance.

He stated that PPA in a response to the Bank’s letter dated August 31, 2020, reviewed the initial PPA approved estimated amount from $81.8 million ($81,882,640) to $121 million ($121,078,517.94).

The CTRC on September 4, 2020, granted concurrent approval to the Bank to engage the recommended Tenderer, Messrs Goldkey Properties Limited at a contract price of $121 million ($121,078,517.94) under Turnkey (Design and Build) contract arrangements, which was the least evaluated bid.

The design was later reviewed to expand the project to cover 100,000 square metres instead of the 73,000 in the first design.

But, the Central Bank did not disclose the cost of the expanded project.

He stated that the decision to commence construction of the new office was taken in 2019, ahead of the current economic issues, when the Bank generated profits.

Appropriations for the Head Office, he explained, were made each year from profits in made 2019, 2020, and 2021, meaning that the project has therefore, been going on for over 3 years.

“The DDEP only took place in January 2023. If we were to be taking the decision today, building a legacy Head Office would not have been a priority,” the Governor said.

He stated further that the new building is currently about 50% complete, and the Bank is taking steps to ensure that the costs of the construction “do not escalate beyond reasonable levels.”

He also indicated that “many of the original design features to including data centre, currency processing centre, ICT equipment, specialized security features have been deferred and only grey boxes provided for future use to manage costs.”

Leave a comment
error: Content is protected !!