Santa Clara County Executives Are Responsible For Valley Medical Center Delays, Construction Company Says

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The nation’s leading builder of hospitals and medical centers today called on Santa Clara County executives to accept responsibility for mismanagement of the $300 million Valley Medical Center (VMC) project that has resulted in costly overruns and delays.

The County has acknowledged that it is responsible for more than three years of delay, and has granted Turner Construction Company 1,117 days to address County-caused problems.

Turner, which has successfully completed 90% of the project’s construction, said the County’s 850 change orders, numerous project management team changes, and continual failure to control or take responsibility for its architect, inspectors, and state regulators (each of which is the County’s liability) have led to more than $150 million in added costs to a project that is projected to be complete 430 calendar days beyond the current contract completion date.

“As the nation’s largest builder of hospitals and healthcare facilities, we have never encountered a more frustrating situation than what we face at Valley Medical Center,” said Michael O’Brien, vice president of Turner Construction. “County representatives managing this project lack hospital construction experience or the knowledge of California’s exacting standards for healthcare facilities.”

Turner said that County staff have thrown up repeated roadblocks.  Project records show:

  • More than 7,500 Requests for Information (clarifications and changes to the project’s design)
  • Nearly 750 Amended Construction Documents (post-permit material changes to the design), each of which requires separate approval by the State of California. In many cases these approvals have taken more than six months and have caused significant delays to the project.
  • More than 300 Architect’s Supplemental Instructions (County/Architect-directed or initiated changes to the design)
  • More than 1,000 Notices of Impact and/or Delays issued to the County by Turner, which have gone largely ignored by County representatives
  • More than 850 Change Orders – 300 of which have come in since April 2014 alone, as the project scope continues to change and grow.

Turner informed the County as early as April 2014 that these delays would mean missing a September 2015 completion date.”Turner provides the County with upwards of 30 reports each month,” said O’Brien. “Officials have known about these problems for years and ignored our best efforts to resolve them.  The real sources of problems are within the County’s control.  It’s time for the County to stop the blame game and work positively with us so that we can deliver a quality project to the taxpayers.”

Turner met again with County officials Monday and remains committed to a solution at VMC.  If those efforts are not successful, the County could place more than 200 union construction jobs at risk, O’Brien said.

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