Ballooning construction costs will trim Dubbo’s new air terminal of some features after tenders for the job came in well over its $3.2 million budget.

All four final tenders for the city’s new airport were hundreds of thousands of dollars over the mark, put down to steep rises in building overheads. The cost blowout means some extra frills will have to go, but Dubbo City Council has assured residents the necessary cuts will be purely cosmetic.

Council’s business operations manager Geoff Darby said although a few bells and whistles were on the backburner, no major changes would be made.

“The public will get the same building and functionality, but we’re looking at things like a different type of internal roofing and swapping tiling for carpet,” he said.

“We won’t have to sacrifice a lot – the type of materials used and some of the features will change, but the overall size and layout of the building won’t change at all.

“We’ll delay the introduction of some of the equipment not required until the terminal reaches full capacity, but they could be installed within 12 to 18 months.”

Mr Darby said construction costs had risen since planning for the new terminal had started, which could account for the consistently high prices quoted.

“All of the original tenders were over by several hundred thousand dollars – the price of building has gone up by about 10 per cent since this process started,” he said.

“The terminal will have about 80 tonnes of steel in it, and it has gone up by about 25 per cent in the past year, and there’s been a general rise in building overheads.

“Council rejected all the tenders, but we are in negotiations with the lowest tenderer David Payne Constructions, which is part of the normal tender process.

“We’ve already had discussions with David Payne – he’ll come back with pricing and we’re very confident of going into January’s council meeting with a recommendation.”

Mr Darby said David Payne had indicated they could start work on the new terminal in the second week of February, pending council approval of the pricing.

Passenger numbers at Dubbo airport were up 15 per cent on last financial year to 124,000, which pointed to the need for a larger facility, Mr Darby said.

“This building should be able to cater to Dubbo needs for the next 20 years by being able to handle a load of about 230,000 passengers a year,” he said.

“Through its revenue, the airport pays for all of this development itself so there will be no drain on ratepayer funds to build the new terminal.”

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