- Santa Clara, CA, has announced the removal of construction giant Turner Construction from the expansion of the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center campus after the county was unhappy with the contractor's action plan for the $380 million contract, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
- Turner was given one more chance to submit a proposal detailing a realistic schedule for construction work on the delayed project, according to the county. The contractor sent that proposal to the county at 3:36 p.m. Friday afternoon. Less than half an hour later, Santa Clara shut down work on the construction site and sent workers home, claiming the proposal "was a retread of the same old stuff that's been going on for months," County Executive Jeff Smith said.
- The county sent a letter of suspension to Turner and hung signs on the job site announcing plans to dissolve the current contract on Tuesday. Smith told the San Jose Mercury News that the county already has two replacement builders in mind to take over the project.
Controversy over the hospital expansion project first arose in late August, when Santa Clara County issued a formal notification to Turner that it was in "default" by $300 million on its contract.
County officials alleged the contractor had not given enough time and attention to the project, resulting in significant work delays that cost Santa Clara $36 million annually in lost revenue plus $30 million for each year that work drags on past the initial completion date.
The original project contract was about $291 million, but since then, Turner has asked for an additional $66 million, followed by another $9 million. The building was initially scheduled to open Sept. 19, but NBC Bay Area reports the complex is nowhere close to completion.
After being accused of breach of contract, Turner spokesman Larry Kamer said that it's "wrong" to blame all the delays on the construction company. He said hundreds of the county's unexpected change orders and thousands of requests for design changes and clarifications added time to the project.
Meanwhile, Turner has been lauded for completing a stadium for the San Francisco 49ers on time and under budget. In fact, the hospital and the stadium were under construction at the same time. Smith said he believes Turner prioritized the stadium project over the hospital.
Turner denies the stadium had any impact on the hospital's progress. "The Levi's Stadium project had nothing to do with this project," Kamer said. "Turner builds 1,500 buildings a year. It knows how to build two projects at a time."
After the county's announcement Friday, Kamer said the county was making a serious mistake. "The most cost-effective way to complete the project is to let Turner finish the remaining 10% that needs to be done," he said.