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24Feb94 UK: PATENT OFFICE SHARES BLAME FOR HQ SNAGS.

The Patent Office has been partly blamed for the blunders which hindered construction of its £24.7 million headquarters.The headquarters were built by RM Douglas, and designed by the former Property Services Agency, but the Patent Office approved the design without taking professional advice, and went £636,000 over budget.The findings come in a report this week by the National Audit Office into the Patent Office's relocation three years ago from London to Newport, Gwent.The parliamentary public spending watchdog found that in 1988 the Patent Office approved PSA designs 'without professional expertise to help them fulfil their project sponsorship role which they took on in April 1988'.By the time a project director was appointed seven months later a fast-track contract strategy had been agreed, the final sketch design approved and tendering had already started.The NAO found that although the Patent Office wanted low lifetime maintenance costs, the PSA failed to provide relevant data and the Patent Office did not pursue the matter. CONSTRUCTION NEWS