No company wants to take on the expansion works of the Bilbao Fine Arts Museum. Not, at least, under the conditions in which they were tendered at the end of March with a total budget of almost 29.6 million euros. The art gallery even extended the deadline for submitting proposals until the end of June, but even then it has not managed to attract any construction company and the contest has been declared void.
Therefore, one week before the deadline for submitting proposals, the museum's board of trustees has agreed to modify the specifications. The result is an increase of 4.6 million euros in the tender budget. According to the new conditions, the costs of the works will amount to 34,184,000 euros, 15.5% more than the 29,584,000 euros budgeted in March.
After this last increase, the costs of expanding the museum already add up to an increase of 20% compared to the initial plans. To all this should be added other costs that include improvement works in the old building, the purchase of premises, the payment of licenses and fees or various financial expenses. All this would raise the total budget to 45 million euros.
At the end of March, when the work was tendered, an increase in the budget of more than 9.5 million euros was also announced. Among the items, then a buffer of more than two million euros was already foreseen for the "contingencies" that could cause the upward trend in the prices of raw materials. However, foresight has been shown to be insufficient.
The Fine Arts has explained in a statement that the decision is due to "the current extraordinary situation of substantial increase in the costs of certain raw materials necessary for the execution of this work." Specifically, it refers to materials such as aluminum or glass, two of the main elements of the project by Normal Foster and Luis María Uriarte. Steel is also causing problems as one of the main suppliers is Ukrainian.
In fact, there are several construction companies that had shown interest in taking over the work. However, none of them has finished presenting a proposal due to the inability to assume the costs in the conditions required in the tender specifications.
The increase in the budget also implies a readjustment in the planned calendar. The initial intention was for the works to start in July, but after the latest approved changes, those who want to compete will have until the end of July to present their proposals. Therefore, the start of the expansion works will be delayed until at least October.