Biel/Bienne campus: expert report completed – relaunch underway
26.05.2020 In September last year, the Office for Land and Buildings cancelled the tendering process to find a general contractor for the Biel/Bienne campus project. The tenders submitted significantly exceeded the budget approved by the Grand Council. To clarify the cause, the Department of Public Works and Transport (BVD) commissioned an external expert report. The results have now been released.
The report comes to the conclusion that stringent demands, costly project modifications, tight deadlines and limited resources all played a role in the significant budget overrun. The BVD has already announced an initial action plan: to reduce costs, the project is to be scrutinised for what is desirable and what is necessary. Additional funds are still likely to be required. The launch of the Biel/Bienne campus is now scheduled for 2025 rather than 2022. However, various judicial processes are still pending. If the legal disputes continue, a worst-case scenario could see the launch put back even more years.
Impact on Bern University of Applied Sciences
The university administration is disappointed that the opening of the Biel/Bienne campus has been delayed by several years. The Biel/Bienne campus is central to the strategic development of BFH and the canton of Bern as an educational location. The key impetus for interdisciplinary collaboration and synergy between the departments of Architecture, Wood and Civil Engineering (AHB) and Engineering and Information Technology (TI) will not now be felt until later. However, this does not diminish the high quality of teaching and research at Bern University of the Applied Arts. Students who begin their studies in ABH and TI in 2020 will be able to complete their degree programmes without relocating.