Ottawa Hospital and construction trades agree on project labour agreement for new $2 billion Civic campus development

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Ottawa Construction New staff writer

Ottawa’s unionized construction trades have locked in a project labour agreement to ensure their relationship with the hospital administration for the upcoming $2 billion The Ottawa Hospital (TOH) Civic Campus development project.

In return for hospital commitments which includes ensuring a daycare centre for workers, washroom, parking and other facilities, the unions representing trades in more than 60 construction fields have agreed to a ‘no work stoppage’ agreement for the project, set to commence construction in 2024.

Development advisor Graham Bird of the GBA Group said the project, once it clears Ministry of Health approval stages, will likely be structured as a public-private-partnership, with the financing and construction costs bid through an RFP administered by Infrastructure Ontario in the next couple of years.

TOH has retained Bird’s organization to “ensure an ‘on time, on budget’ schedule”, with the 800-bed hospital to be completed by 2027.

The project management team also includes HDR Architects, Agnew Pekham, and Deloitte, “among other industry leaders,” a joint statement from TOH and the Unionized Building and Construction Trades Council of Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec (BTC) said.

TOH leaders and BTC representatives gathered at the new Carpenters Union 93 Building in Stittsville for a pre-Labour Day media event to formally sign the project agreement, described as a “New Civic Development Project Charter.”

The agreement is expected to secure jobs for the region’s approximately 35,000 unionized construction workers, and will likely mean that non-union subtrades will have difficulty gaining access to the project.

On the other hand, the agreement sets out to “work collaboratively to train and replace the 20 per cent of the trade works force expected to retire in the next 10 years, with individuals from traditionally disadvantaged populations looking to prosper in careers in the building and construction sciences.”

“As we celebrate Labour Day2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of partnerships in ensuring our workers have safe, infection-controlled worksites,” said BTC president John Bourke. (Bourke is also business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 586.)

“The new Civic development will have the highest health and safety standards as we move deliberately towards a more diverse workforce, including youth, women, indigenous people, persons with disabilities, and new Canadians.”

While the hospital is expected to cost about $2 billion, the exact cost can only be determined later, once further planning and the actual RFP process to select the general contractor and construction financing team is resolved. In general, the provincial government expects about 10 per cent of the cost to be raised through local sources, and the unions expressed support for the hospital in in its fund-raising initiative.

The Ottawa Citizen reported that some Ontario communities have issued a municipal levy to help raise the funds.

“We have had a number of discussions with the city on multiple options and over the course of the next quarter we are gong to have to determine what the best approach is for that financing strategy,” Love said.

The hospital is currently at Stage 2 in the five-stage Ministry of Health capital planning process.  At this stage, details including hospital programming, square footage, design, financial planning and site requirements are worked out.

Stage 3 is Preliminary Design Development and Stage 4 will be Contract Documentation Development before the final Stage 5, Implementation.

The TOH has determined that the new structure should provide each patient with a private room (and a bathroom with natural light), universal accessibility, “purpose-built education, training and learning environments”, integrated research and laboratories, and “design flexibility fo emergency and pandemic planning,” among other features.

The hospital says it has retained these project development specialists:

  • GBA Group – Development advisory and project management;
  • Deloitte – Strategic finance planning services;
  • HDR Architecture Associates, Inc. – Architectural services;
  • Andrew Peckham Health Care Consultants – Master programmer
  • Marshall & Murray Inc. – Cost consultants; and
  • Parsons Inc. – Planning and approval studies.

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