More delays, cost hikes before Children’s Hospital construction

Biggest delay was failed John Black Lean redesign

The NDP is deeply concerned that the Sask. Party’s choices on the Saskatchewan Children’s Hospital have amounted to $56 million more and three years longer compared to promises made in just 2012.

“Thanks to mismanagement and a blind adherence to it Lean guru’s teachings, this government has delayed this hospital for years, and racked up millions in extra costs before they even manage to get shovels in the ground,” said NDP Health critic Danielle Chartier.

Today, the government announced the latest higher price tag for the hospital – $285 million – and said it won’t be finished until late 2019.

The timeline delays and cost overruns on the project are astonishing, said Chartier.

  • 2007: Planning funding was allocated and early stage planning was done.

  • 2009: Funding for the project was included in the provincial budget, and completion was targeted for the 2012-2013 budget year. Designs were drawn up.
  • 2011: In the summer of 2011, the Sask. Party hired John Black, the American Lean consultant who is neither an architect nor a health care professional, to redo the designs to match his Lean philosophy. This put the project on hold for more than a year. Black received an eight-month contract.

  • 2012: In July, the Sask. Party unveiled Black’s new, shrunken design and pegged the cost at $229 million, and the opening date in 2016.

  • 2014: In April, the project was put on hold again to undo damage done by John Black’s design. A redesign was done at a cost of $20 million, putting beds back into the design that Black had removed. The John Black delays pushed the opening date to 2017.

  • 2015: In July the Sask. Party said completion was expected in 2018. Bizarrely, the extra time was “to make sure the drawings were accurate,” according to a Sask. Party government spokesperson.

Chartier added that taxpayers have also paid for John Black to design other health care buildings. The Sask. Party paid his massive consulting fees to redesign the Moose Jaw hospital, which Black made much smaller and with fewer beds than the existing Moose Jaw Hospital; as well as the Regina Ambulatory Care Centre, which the Sask. Party has decided not to build; and a renovation of the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency in Saskatoon, which the Sask. Party also decided not to do right now.