Construction firm accuses province of botching build of Grande Prairie hospital

The construction firm fighting with the Alberta government over the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital says the province has crippled the project with slapdash planning, poor budgeting, and bad faith negotiations. In a statement, Graham Construction says Alberta Infrastructure has been ordering up so many design changes that completed work has had to be torn down.

Graham Construction, Grande Prairie Regional Hospital
A rendering of the Grande Prairie Regional Hospital. Image via DIALOG.

The company is responding to a demand issued this week by Infrastructure Minister Sandra Jansen on the $763-million project.

Jansen says the Calgary-based firm is on track to miss the completion deadline and has asked for an extra $120 million with no justifiable reason.

She has given Graham 15 days to deliver a plan to get the project back on schedule or see its $510-million contract cancelled.

But Graham says it has repeatedly warned the province that the hospital can’t be done under the current budget given the design changes.

It says Jansen’s claim of a request for an extra $120 million is false and her office has been cancelling meetings.

“Until the scope changes stop, and sufficient budget is provided, no construction manager can properly establish a final cost or properly plan and complete the project,” said Graham.

“(Alberta Infrastructure’s) recent actions are a regrettable example of ‘shooting the messenger.”’

The hospital, when completed, will provide space for everything from acute care to cancer treatment, obstetrics, MRI services and surgery to patients in northwestern Alberta.

Alberta Health Services says the shell and roof of the hospital had been completed, along with insulation and windows. Construction on the inside _ including framing, drywalling, piping and electrical _ is 70 per cent done.

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  1. Ralph says

    If and when an investigation is completed and if Graham’s claim that the project cost and time over-run is a result of continuous scope changes by the “Government” ,then the government of Alberta has no legal right to cancel the contract between the “Government” and “Graham. Eventually and either way, the Alberta taxpayer is on the hook and the NDP government should take responsibility for the blunder!

  2. Bill Kumlin says

    A good client project manager can over some the shortcomings of poor construction management. But even the best construction manager can’t compensate for poor client project management. NDP governments are notoriously bad business managers and I blame the government for using incompetent public service employees on a project that is more that a half a billion dollars. If the contractor is having to demolish already completed work because the government can’t make up their mind, there shouldn’t even need to be a discussion. Cancelling the contract would be the government’s way of deflecting the blame for their incompetence, and the subsequent lawsuits would cost the taxpayer millions more that just letting Graham complete the work they were expecting to do.

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