IMHO the public sector often spends several times over what is necessary to deliver a building project. One of the main reasons for this is 'vanity project' overdesigning - there were HSE units for homeless people on RTE news last week - empty because of lack of funding - that had cost per square metre more than twice the cost of high end apartments. The €30 million plus spent on greyhound stadia still sticks in my throat when you look at the needs for school and hospital building.
There is no incentive for the civil servants managing public contracts to get value for money. They get more kudos for running a €30 million project than a €5 million project.
It is not their money and they just don't care.
In my view it should be possible to tender for a fixed price contract even where there are geological risks. The risks should be scoped by the client and the same report provided to all tenderers. Open ended contracts were a disaster: contractors used to tender too low for the work and then come in with extras bigger than the contract sum.
I dealt with a fixed price public contract years ago in which it was made crystal clear to the developer that there could be no extras. The tender documents required the contractor to check ground conditions before pricing. The site involved taking a pipe across land to a river - the land was known to be flood plain. The contractor was slow and inefficient on site and then came back looking for extras for 'difficult ground conditions'. He was not paid over the contract sum.
I haven't read the new contract and will probably have a fit when I do. It sounds like "taking in charge" procedures that were brought in in some counties, which put massive liabilities on engineers or architects who certified works as compliant with planning permission. Most companies just won't certify for this reason and handover of roads and sewers is at a standstill. Local authorities and government seem to have the idea that the development process is some sort of unlimited goldmine that can fund any and all public service costs. With developers again going bust left right and centre they are in for a very rude awakening.