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Here are some images as promised.

You can see why snow stopped play for a short period in February. Although beautiful it wasn't the kind of weather to be clambering around scaffold in. Amazing to see Cinema 1 under a foot of snow. That's last time that will happen I hope!

The latest images below give you an idea of the significant progress over the last month despite the weather. I had a walk round the first floor level yesterday for the first time. About 60% of the first floor slabs are now complete. This means that block work up to the next level is well underway. It was great to get a real sense of the upstairs rooms for the first time. I wandered into the recording studio, multi media room, a dressing room. The rehearsal room/ dance studio and into the upstairs ladies toilets. Most exciting though was standing on the balcony of the café bar looking through what will be a two storey window across the dock to the museum. Its a great view. The relationship between the two building works really well I think.

On the money front all is going well despite persistent rumours. To add to my last post I think it worth spelling a few things out. Recent reports suggest that we are being put under pressure by Shetland Islands Council Development Committee to take corrective action on the level of remaining contingency. It's important to note accountabilities and sequence of events. Just in case of any doubt and at risk of repeating myself, Mareel is a Shetland Arts Development Agency project. The Council is just one of a number of funders albeit a highly valued one. The SIC is contributing around 51% of the capital costs of Mareel. The SIC are not required to fund any additional costs above this commitment. I have repeatedly stated over the past two years that we have no intention to return to the Council for more support. The risk and the liability sits solely with Shetland Arts. Shetland Charitable Trust is not putting any funds in to the construction of Mareel nor have they been asked and nor will they be asked.

The Mareel Capital project has a tight and strict management structure. Spend on the project is monitored at a number of levels and the aim with the contingency is to maintain 2% against remaining spend. On the 5th February I reported to the Mareel Construction Board that our contingency spend had dropped below 2% and corrective action was being explored. By the time we reported the last cost report to the SIC Sounding Board (a group of Members charged with monitoring the project on behalf of the Council) on the 18th February, I reported that saving had been found and the contingency sum was back up to 2%. At the Development Committee the following week Members expressed their concern about the contingency, even though we had already made the saving.

At the Mareel Construction Board last night (12 March) I was pleased to report that our contingency was now sitting at 3% of remaining spend. Well above our target.

The thing about a contingency is that it will go up and down. Even if we do nothing it will go up relative to remaining spend. But more than likely it will be spent by the end of the project. If there is any left it will go back to our funder of last resort - ERDF European funds.

I am fortunate to be working with a great team of highly experienced professionals from DITT Construction to our Design Team. All are receptive to seeking out savings where possible. I and the rest of the team are committed to the delivery of this project on budget. My job is to keep Mareel on track, on budget and ensure Shetland ends up with a high quality venue that we will all grow to know and love. It's not easy at times but we are getting there.

I will keep the updates coming. In the mean time spread the words: Mareel, on time and on budget. Thanks!

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