$22.8-million increase and an additional eight to 12 months is required to complete the renovation and restoration work on Union Station in Toronto.

According to a staff report discussed at the City of Toronto’s recent budget committee, carrying out a major renovation project on a historic heritage building that has remained open during construction has presented some challenges to the budget and schedule.

“About the middle of last year, it became apparent to us that connective work that was required to be performed by Metrolinx for us to complete our work was not available to us for very good reasons because our business partner had a need to change their design,” stated Richard Coveduck, director of strategic construction projects for the city, during the meeting.

“To accommodate this, we’ve come here today to ask for the budget increase to enable us to ensure that the project will be complete this year. We don’t want to have any problems due to the upcoming recess of committees and council. This will fund us through February of next year.”

In the report, the deputy city manager, internal corporate services and the chief financial officer, recommended city council approve an increase to the total project cost from $800.7 million to $823.5 million. That translates to an increase of 2.8 per cent to the total project cost, which will be funded through the Capital Financing Reserve Fund.

Major construction work on the project began in 2011. The initial construction management contract was awarded to Carillion Canada Inc. Subsequently, Carillion’s contract was reduced to include Stage 1 only, and Stages 2 and 3 were awarded to Bondfield Construction Inc.

Carillion has filed an “unsubstantiated construction claim action against the City,” states a 2017 Union Station status report.

There are a number of challenges that have surfaced on the project, including continued litigation on contractor claims that require funding for the city; changes to the schedule and scope of Metrolinx’s revitalization initiatives which have resulted in delays to the city’s Bay Concourse work; and continued unforeseen site conditions and unexpected design changes, the City of Toronto explained in an email to the Daily Commercial News (DCN).

“The additional funding requirement is mainly the result of the co-ordination of ongoing and active projects at Union Station, specifically the co-ordination and interdependency with the remaining adjacent major capital projects being undertaken by Metrolinx,” states the report.

“Metrolinx’s planned work at track level is undergoing changes to accommodate its Regional Express Rail plans.

“The changes, resequencing and additional project requirements of Metrolinx’s track level work is delaying the city’s completion of its base building work on the revitalized Bay Concourse and lower level retail.”

Metrolinx told the DCN it was committed to ensuring the work gets done.

“The reported cost implications have not yet been scrutinized by Metrolinx for accuracy but we will work with the city and the mayor to ensure we make this happen and it doesn’t deter from getting the work done,” the statement read.

“Doing massive renovations like this in such an old building while service continues can be a struggle but we are getting the work done.”

The project’s revised expected substantial completion date has now shifted from early 2018 to the end of 2018.

“The schedule delays are expected to result in additional costs for construction and indirect costs related to internal staffing, insurance and continuation of third party consultant support,” the report indicates.

Both the city and Metrolinx reiterated they will work together to mitigate schedule and budget impacts.

“Our respective leadership are aware of it (the impacts) and Metrolinx has said that for the part that is attributable to them that they will make good on it,” explained Coveduck. “But essentially it has to flow through the city, so we’re here for this additional budget to allow events to unfold in a rational and professional fashion and to bring the project to completion. Metrolinx will reimburse us for the real costs attributable to them which are yet to be ascertained because we are still working out the solutions to the changes.”

Source: DCN