New reporting system shows Edmonton construction projects behind schedule

Downtown Edmonton is shown in this September 2018 file photo.
Downtown Edmonton is shown in this September 2018 file photo. Eric Beck/ Global News

A new report from city hall says of 13 recent major construction projects about to get underway under a new management system, three have fallen behind schedule. One of those three is also over budget.

Within the last two years, city staff moved to a new project management system where more detailed engineering and planning was done ahead of launching a project to cut down on the possibility of mid-project surprises, as well as cost increases midway through construction.

“There were a number of changes over the last number of years that were made based off some of the audits that had been done,” Councillor Andrew Knack said of the Project Development and Delivery Model.

Once that more stringent method was brought in, Knack asked for the accounting of PDDM to be separated from the other projects that are only six months in.

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The report breaks statuses down into three categories — green, yellow and red.

A table explaining how projects are evaluated when it comes to budget and completion time.
A table explaining how projects are evaluated when it comes to budget and completion time. Supplied: City of Edmonton

The 50 Street grade separation is listed as yellow in both categories.

Preliminary design is anticipated to be done by the end of the year the report said.

“Further preliminary design work is required to refine the grade separation based on further insight on constraints related to construction in close proximity to the active CP Rail yard.”

“Negotiations with CP are ongoing and land acquisition is underway,” the report added.

Work has begun to move utilities to prep for the work.

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Knack said he’ll have questions about that file because the report is not clear what the cost and time ramifications are.

“It appears we haven’t spent [anything], at least as of the reporting date, so it’s tough to say why that one is showing as yellow at the moment.”

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The Lewis Estates Rec Centre and the south side soccer facility are listed as behind schedule, but still on budget.

Knack said he’s not ready to declare victory.

“It’s a fairly small sample size at this stage to start making declarations one way or other, but the expectation is, using this new model of project management you’ll see less projects run behind schedule, less projects go over-budget.”

Not listed is the Valley Line LRT because it falls under a different category.

“It’s operating under a P3 model,” Knack said. “It’s a little bit different than everything else that we regularly report on.

“But we are seeing in that quarterly reporting that they’re showing that they’re behind where they wanted to be for the schedule.”

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It also explains why the city announced on Friday that overnight work would start on the Tawatinâ bridge on Sept. 18.

Crews will be working 24 hours a day, Monday to Saturday.

“We’re taking action right now, trying to catch up and bring it back up to schedule, doing some work, 24 hours a day,” Knack said.

Several other well known — and late — projects are included in the old reporting system.

They include the Groat Road bridge over the North Saskatchewan River, the initial phase of the Jasper Avenue new vision, the anaerobic digestion facility at the waste management centre, three rec facilities –the Jasper Place Leisure Centre, Coronation Community Rec Centre and the Bonnie Doon Pool — and the North West Campus for Edmonton Police. City council will review those projects at the Sept. 24 council meeting.

The numbers used to evaluate the projects were up to date as of June 30.