Gobbins construction problems may lead to £600k cost increase

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Safety concerns surrounding the Gobbins cliff path could result in the project going over budget by £600,000.

A number of problems have been encountered during the construction phase, including issues relating to the width of the path and the handrails along the route.

The Health and Safety Executive has advised against plans to widen the path, fearing it could led to a trip hazard. It also recommended that the proposed sloped handrail should be vertical.

Minutes from the latest meeting of the Gobbins steering group stated: “This had consequences for the handrail design, as GRP (the manufacturer) requires a section with four stanchions and a handrail before there can be a change of direction.

“Specialist joints are to be moulded and made for all the joints where there is a change in direction; this could cause a delay in the programme until December 2014.”

The official record stated that while this could lead to an increase in costs of £600,000, it added: “This was unforeseeable and more savings are to be made by putting in stainless steel handrails and not widening the path.

“If a proposal is made to the Special European Union Programmes Body (SEUPB) with the savings that could be made, the additional cost would be £27,000.

“If stainless steel is agreed, it could be finished by the end of October as opposed to the end of December.”