Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford delayed due to P3 subcontractor

The new Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford will not be completed on time due to a subcontractor being unable to meet the overall schedule. Government of Saskatchewan / Supplied

The completion of the new Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford (SHNB) will be delayed.

The province received word on March 13 that public-private partnership (P3) builder, Access Prairies Partnership (APP), will not be able to meet the targeted June 1 completion date.

The province says APP is anticipating a two to three month delay due to a subcontractor being unable to meet the overall schedule.

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APP told the province that other subcontractors are still working to complete the project. Minister Responsible for Sask. Builds, David Marit, said he’s been told additional crews have been hired, and they are working through the night.

There is a hefty financial incentive for APP to finish the delayed project in a timely manner.

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“To my knowledge, it’s in the neighbourhood of $1.25 million per month that they will be penalized for the delays,” Marit said.

The province stressed that because of the P3 model, all costs related to the delay will be the responsibility of APP, not the government. A written statement adds the government has means to recoup costs related to delays as well.

“We have a fixed contract cost, and they’ll do whatever they can. Obviously, they’re going to be looking at that penalty, and saying well if we can get it done by hiring extra staff for half that it’s obviously saving them money,” Marit said.

As for what exactly is causing the delay, Marit said he did not know and deferred comment to APP.

APP is a team that was originally made up of Graham Design Builders LP, Gracorp Capital Advisors Ltd., Carillion Canada Inc., WSP Canada, and Kasian Architecture Interior Design and Planning.

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P3 Concerns

Carillon, a U.K. based construction company, collapsed in January. They were contracted to provide building maintenance for the first 30 years of operation.

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At the time, the province said they were not responsible for finding a new maintenance provider and that it would be handled by APP. Marit said his understanding is that the maintenance issue has been handled internally by APP.

With these issues at Saskatchewan Hospital, the opposition NDP are calling on the province to reconsider the model. Opposition Leader Ryan Meili pointed to neighbouring provinces as evidence.

“We had the story out of Manitoba that they have not decided to go with P3s anymore. They discovered that they could pay for five schools for the price of four by doing a traditional build. We’ve seen similar changes in Alberta where they’ve moved away from using the P3 model,” Meili said.

In addition to the Carillon issue, Meili pointed to the fact that teachers in Saskatchewan’s new P3 schools are not allowed to open the windows for the first operating year or pin things to the walls.

Both Marit and Premier Scott Moe stood behind the P3 model, saying all proposals are evaluated on a case by case basis before the province decides is a P3 or traditional build is most financially viable. Moe pointed to the Regina Bypass being ahead of schedule as a success of the model.

With files from Meaghan Craig and Thomas Piller


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