- A report from the U.S. Department of Defense Office of Inspector General found that there have been $165.6 million of design errors and omissions, plus change delays, through March 2018 for the $1.2 billion Fort Bliss Hospital replacement project at Fort Bliss, Texas. According to the OIG timeline, the original authorized cost was $966 million for the 1.1-million-square-foot facility that will include 135 hospital beds, 10 operating rooms and 30 specialty clinics.
- A "legacy" design error prior to May 2016 cost the project more than $9 million and 65 days after the government stopped delivery of steel and ordered that structural steel beams and columns be refabricated. Post May 2016, design errors and omissions regarding ceiling light fixtures cost $1.8 million and time delays for changes cost $142 million. The OIG said 126 days of delays were caused by the Army Corps of Engineers because of interior framing, seismic testing and other issues.
- The project has had 973 contract change requests as of March 15, 2018, and 132 of them were canceled. The Army Corps took over the project during construction and conducted design validation and a cost schedule risk analysis but has not issued a report of "lessons learned." The OIG recommended that the government review the actions of those involved to determine who is responsible for design errors and omissions and hold them accountable.
The federal government has encountered more than its fair share of hurdles when it comes to hospital construction. In fact, despite what may or may not be problems with Army Corps oversight at the Fort Bliss project, Congress turned to the agency to help get construction of veterans' hospitals back on track after the Rocky Mountain Regional Medical Center hospital project in Aurora, Colorado, experienced significant cost overruns and delays. That project is $1 billion over budget and four years behind schedule and was the driving force behind federal lawmakers' decision to put the Corps in charge of any veterans affairs-related construction project of $100 million or more.
Besides the Fort Bliss hospital, there are problems with other Department of Veterans Affairs' hospitals. The Rocky Mountain Regional Medical Center project in Aurora, Colorado, has double the square footage of the hospital it is meant to replace, but the design does not allow for primary care teams or enough medical beds, psychiatric units or a residential post-traumatic stress disorder program. So, for the VA to be able to serve patients adequately, it said it will use both the new hospital and the old one in Denver. The old hospital will require about $350 million of upgrades.