§ MR. MURPHY (Dublin, St. Patrick's)
asked the Secretary of State for War, If there is any reason to be dissatisfied with the results of the system of limited competition which has hitherto been the usual practice in arranging contracts for works of large extent executed in Ireland under the War Department, and why is it being departed from in the case of the proposed new barracks at Grangegorman, Dublin, for which an unlimited competition has been advertised; whether contractors proposing to tender elect the surveyor to take out the quantities of the works on their behalf; and if in an unlimited competition the votes of the persons bonâ fide intending to send in tenders may be swamped by 181 those of others who have no such intention, and for whom a surveyor might find it worth while to pay the deposit of £5 5s. each, entitling them to vote; if in the newspapers containing the notice asking for the names of persons desiring to tender for those works, an advertisement appears, directly under the War Department notice, from a Mr. Strud-wick, of London, soliciting votes for the office of surveyor, in which it is stated, as an inducement to vote for him, that the quantities would be taken out in London; if this statement is correct; and, if so, how was the information communicated to Mr. Strudwick; and, whether, considering that this unlimited competition will place surveyors and contractors in Ireland at a disadvantage, he will state the reason for the proposed alteration of the usual terms of competition?
§ THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY, WAR DEPARTMENT (Mr. BRODRICK) (Surrey, Guildford)
(who replied) said: The prices of building contracts have ranged considerably higher in Ireland than in England; and as the Grangegorman Barracks constitute an extensive work, to a value of perhaps £60,000, the Secretary of State, with a view to obtaining the best contract for the public interest, has thought it desirable to resort to the usual practice of an open competition, rather than to the limited competition which has for some time prevailed for buildings in Ireland. Contractors proposing to tender elect the surveyor, and they pay a deposit on the amount of the contract according to a scale laid down in the Royal Engineer Regulations. Considering the amount of the deposit, such a transaction as is suggested does not seem very probable. An advertisement has appeared from Mr. Strudwick, who was, no doubt, aware that the quantities for large contracts, of which the designs have been prepared in London, are almost invariably taken out there. It is not apparent that this practice puts any class of contractors at a disadvantage.
§ MR. MURPHY
asked, if the hon. Gentleman was aware that only in one other case were the quantities taken out for a large Irish work in London?
§ MR. BRODRICK
said, he did not know; but that as the plans were made 182 out in London he supposed the quantities would be taken out there too.