Wednesday, October 27

Nobody wants to spend a lot of money in a new government quarter in the middle of Oslo.

  • Nikolai Astrup
    Nikolai Astrup

    Minister of Local Government and Modernization (H)

The reason the project price is so high is the safety requirements, writes Nikolai Astrup.

But, sadly, the alternatives are more expensive. Much more expensive.

This is a discussion post. Opinions in the text are the responsibility of the writer.

In Aftenposten on October 13, commentator Halvor Hegtun believes that a new government, perhaps, can save the community several billion kronor by reducing plans for a new government quarter.

He asks if it could be just as safe and much cheaper to continue using the buildings in Kvadraturen or the Foreign Office facilities in Victoria Terrace. Maybe you can eliminate two of the construction stages?

Costs significantly more

The questions have already been considered. In the state budget proposal that the government presented on October 12, the two alternatives that Hegtun wants are mentioned.

Professional assessments are that the additional cost of staying at the current facility and being content to do the first phase of construction in the government quarter is NOK 22-32 billion. So the price of permanent jobs for ministries can reach more than NOK 70 billion.

Professional studies of several other variants have also been conducted. They are accounted for in the state budget. In common for them is that they cost significantly more than the current plan.

Should be reduced

At the same time, the current government also believes that the government quarter should be shortened. First, because there is reason to believe that ministries can be sized for a smaller presence.

It can potentially provide significant savings. Previously we have reduced the number of employees for which the ministries are dimensioned and reduced the area standard by. employee.

We also cut NOK 2.2 billion in the first construction phase. Parts of the cuts should be viewed in relation to the downscaling possibilities of construction stages two and three.

Security requirements

The price for. the workplace is more or less in line with the construction of a modern office space in the center of Oslo. The reason the project price remains so high is the safety requirements.

Hegtun is right that it makes it difficult to argue the case. At the same time, it must be agreed that the basic national functions, constituted by the ministerial community, must be protected against intelligence, sabotage, terrorism and other serious incidents.

If the government is to be permanent in current temporary facilities, more stringent security requirements are set. This means, among other things, that buildings must be better secured, streets must be closed, and we must have control of adjacent properties. Costs. And it costs more than insuring a single trimester.

The right long-term package

I think Hegtun is right that it is easier to support savings in opposition than when you are responsible for the safety of many thousands of employees. Especially when it comes to ensuring basic national functions and national security interests for more than 150 years.

As a minister, you must also take responsibility for matters that do not contribute to your personal popularity. Because it is the right thing to do in the long run.

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