PLANS to build a new crematorium in Bradford will now cost £2m more than originally estimated, amid concerns over the rising costs of building projects in the district.

Bradford Council has pledged to monitor the situation closely as it emerged that work to build a crematorium at Long Lane in Heaton is now expected to cost £8.8m, rather than the pre-pandemic estimate of £6.9m.

The increasing costs are put down to volatility in the construction industry that has seen the cost of materials rise as well as the effect of the pandemic on the supply chain.

As a result, companies tendering for the contract to build Heaton Crematorium have come back with prices that are 27 per cent higher than the £6.9m suggested in 2019 - at £1.9m more.

On top of this, the land costs have increased, so the overall project is now expected to cost 25 to 30 per cent more than the £9.1m originally thought, pushing the budget more than £2m over.

The scheme is part of a major shake-up of Bradford’s bereavement services, which will also see a new facility in Bierley and Oakworth Crematorium being refurbished, replacing those at Scholemoor and Nab Wood which the Council says are operating beyond their working life.

A report to next week’s meeting of the Council’s decision-making executive recommends that the contract for Heaton be awarded to the successful tenderer using funds from the overall programme budget of £23 million.

A further report is expected to be brought to the executive on the updated costs for the £10.5m Bierley Crematorium in due course.

Leader of the Council, Susan Hinchcliffe said: “We are committed to delivering the Bereavement Strategy programme and our other capital programmes but we have to look at the overall impacts that this inflation is going to have on the projects and their future budgets.

“Like many other significant building projects around the country there are well-documented pressures in the construction industry around staff and materials. This will impact on our projects like other major construction projects.

“This is something that we are fully aware of and will have to monitor closely.”
According to the latest data provided by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the price of imported sawn or planed wood jumped by more than a fifth between June and July."

The material is now more than 64 per cent more expensive than it was in July 2020. BEIS data also shows that the price of fabricated structural steel increased by 13.5 per cent in the first quarter of 2021. 

Overall material prices were up 20.1 per cent higher in July compared to 12 months ago and have jumped 4.5 per cent since June.

The report states that: “There was, therefore, a reasonable expectation that the returned tender bids for the construction of Heaton Crematorium would exceed the historically estimated figure.”

Plans for the new crematoria at both Heaton and Bierley received the final stage of planning approval earlier this year.

The plans for Bierley have not gone out to tender yet as negotiations for purchasing the land at Shetcliffe Lane have not been completed.

The new facilities, at Heaton and Bierley, will include more environmentally-friendly cremators.

Work on the £2.75m refurbishment of the Oakworth facility got underway in August last year and was expected to last a year.

Cllr Sarah Ferriby, the Council’s executive member for healthy people and places, said: “It is our commitment to create a modern, sustainable and environment-friendly bereavement service for the people of the district.

“We want to provide practical, sympathetic, convenient and pleasant surroundings for people when they pay their last respects to their loved ones."

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