- Alberta, Canada's minister of infrastructure has given the general contractor for the CA$763 million Grande Prairie Regional Hospital 15 days to come up with a plan to get the beleaguered project back on track or face termination, according to the Journal of Commerce. Sandra Jansen's ultimatum comes after Graham Construction out of Calgary, Alberta, submitted a change order of CA$120 million to add to its contract of CA$510 million, a request the company has not yet proven valid, Jansen reportedly said on a July 30 conference call.
- The province contracted with Graham back in 2011, and, since that time, costs have increased more than three times its original price of CA$250 million and the project has experienced numerous delays. In 2016, Graham said the hospital would be complete by 2018, but as part of a recent construction update, Alberta Health Services said work would continue into 2019, as interior construction — framing, drywall, piping, electrical — was only 70% complete.
- After completion, the hospital will still need to undergo cleansing and other work to get the facility ready for patients. When the hospital does open, it will provide those living in northwest Alberta with a wide range of services, including emergency care, cancer treatment, obstetrics and surgery.
It's not difficult to see some similarities between Alberta's experience with the Grande Prairie hospital and the problems that the U.S. has had with veterans' and other military hospitals.
The Department of Veterans Affairs' $2 billion Rocky Mountain Regional Medical Center in Aurora, Colorado ended up $1 billion over budget and four years behind schedule after experiencing cost and schedule problems. In fact, Congress was so frustrated with the project that it put the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in charge of all VA projects with cost projections of $100 million or more. In January, federal lawmakers received more bad news about the project. Despite having twice the space as the hospital it was replacing, the Aurora facility's layout did not allow for all of the planned services, so the VA will have to spend another $350 million on the old hospital so that it can take up the slack until the department finds a building that can serve as a complement to the new hospital.
The $1.2 billion Fort Bliss Hospital replacement at Fort Bliss, Texas, has also seen its fair share of problems. The Office of Inspector for the U.S. Department of Defense issued a report earlier this year indicating that there have been more than $165 million of design errors and omissions and change delays through March 2018. The Army Corps took over that project as well.