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Police headquarters budget overrun now at 5 per cent

Project on track for completion by year's end and come in $1.7 million over budget
20210730 Guelph Police headquarters RV
Guelph police headquarters.

Investigators now have access to the forensic lab at the expanded and renovated Guelph Police Service headquarters, with “imminent” occupancy of the rest of the third floor as the project continues toward completion by the end of the year.

That’s the latest progress update from city staff on the $34.1 million project which is running about 2.5 years behind schedule. 

“We are anxious to get it completed and we are working diligently with Perini (Management) who is the bonding agent, and their contractors who picked it up to get it through the finish line,” said project manager Ken VanderWal, the city’s manager of technical services.

If current estimates hold true, the project could come in $1.7 million over the council-approved budget, not including an ongoing $7.1 million lawsuit from the general contractor removed from the project last summer.

The budget overrun estimate has increased to five per cent from three per cent, or from $1 million to $1.7 million, between the most recent quarterly updates – March and July.

“The contract, as tendered, is still the contract. The changes within the project are not significant to the scope, therefore all the prices within the original contract are valid,” said VanderWal, noting non-contract costs such as furnishings have risen.

"Initially, excavation work was more extensive than geological testing suggested; this also contributed to some of the scheduling delays," he added via email."There has been higher than expected inflation on goods and services, in part due to the prolonged schedule ... and we have had higher associated costs for off-site rental space for employees relocated during renovations as well as on-going consultant costs for quality control and assurance aspect of the project."

In the July update, city staff note 98 per cent of the project has been completed.

Much of the work still to be done involves storage and office space on the first and second floors at 15 Wyndham St. S., VanderWal said. 

“There are some staff who will move in when it’s done, but it’s not hampering anything immediately, from what I’ve been told,” he shared. “They’ve got all the areas they need presently to keep functioning.”

Asked how it feels to have a long-running project such as this close to completion, VanderWal responded, “I am glad there are patios open in Guelph. If that doesn’t tell you how I feel about the project almost being at completion, I don’t know how else to phrase it.”

When first approved, the project was expected to be done by spring of 2019.

Already running more than a year late, the project stalled for several months last year after the city removed the project’s general contractor, which is now suing the city for breach of contract. 

Included in the project are two new wings, including a four-storey structure intended for parking and future office space, as well as gutting and rebuilding the inside of the existing facility. The work includes enhanced security features, private interview rooms and a multi-function room for community use.


Richard Vivian

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