The Walloon Parliament renovation project is set to get even more expensive after botching the installation of an energy-efficient wall, Belgian TV station LN24 reports.
The Bureau of the Walloon Parliament was forced to launch a public contract last week for the installation of relay antennas in the House of Parliamentarians. The overseers of the construction project realised that the energy-efficient walls and windows were too thick to allow for a proper phone signal. This means that Walloon officials must, once again, dig deep to rectify the issue.
“Indeed, the GSM (mobile) network does not work optimally indoors, unlike the Wi-Fi which works perfectly. The technical teams told me that the phenomenon was difficult to anticipate. We only became aware of it a few weeks ago,” MP André Frédéric, the new president of the Bureau, told Le Soir.
A case was submitted to the members of the Bureau for examination who then offered the project as a public tender. Despite the decision to massively slash the operating budget of the parliament, reduced from around €82 million to €71.5 million, as well as to cut investment in many projects, the Bureau deemed the project to be essential.
It is now estimated that the last minute error will cost the taxpayer another €85,000-€140,000. The real amount will be decided upon the conclusion of the public tender.
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This additional cost was not provided for the November independent report into the parliament’s expenses, which estimated the real cost of the House of Parliamentarians at €46.1 million. The report did, however, include a margin of €400,000 under the category of “future accounts and final projections.”
This unplanned expense will therefore fall within the margin of error without further calling into question the project’s finances. But the parliament can ill afford more of these last minute costs. Even €200,000 more unexpected costs could mean that the case is brought into question once again.
Wallonia was reported to be €30 million over budget and the Belgian Federal Police are intensifying their investigation into the financial wrongdoing of regional officials.