GOVERNMENT architects inflated a hospital's budget to avoid criticism of over-spending, Legco members said yesterday. Members of the Legislative Council Public Accounts Committee were concerned about the 10 per cent of plans changed during construction of the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital. Ronald Arculli asked whether the Architectural Services Department had claimed excessive expenses for the construction during the planning stage. 'I wonder why they still had no problem of over-expenditure when there are so many variation drawings. 'It definitely won't have that problem if it claims an excessive amount first. 'I feel deceived and I will be more careful next time when approving the budget in the Financial Committee,' he said. Pau Siu-hung, department acting director, said the department's claim was justified, but a certain amount of contingency expenses had been required to meet unexpected needs. The drawings expenses were accounted for in the contingency expenses. Emily Lau Wai-hing urged the department to disclose the exact excessive expense caused by the changed drawings. Mr Pau said this was confidential under the contract with the contract-or. But he would ask the contractor if it was acceptable to disclose the amount now the work had been finished. Some 3,000 drawings were changed out of a total of 34,500. Among the 3,000 variations, 70 per cent were made after the tender was awarded. Mr Pau said: 'One changed item may need seven or eight variation drawings and it is not abnormal to have 3,000 in this case.' He said one of the reasons was the ever-changing medical technology used in hospitals. The department had to cope with Hospital Authority demands.