Leaky roof at new Sask Hospital to be fully replaced

It only opened officially March 8, but Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford already needs a new roof.

Taxpayers won’t have to pay the bill, however, says the provincial government.

article continues below

According to a release from the Government of Saskatchewan, Access Prairies Partnership, the organization responsible for the construction and maintenance of SHNB, has determined that a product failure occurred with the modular roofing panels installed across the SHNB facility. As a result, APP has determined that the entire roof requires full replacement.

The government release also says APP will be responsible for the cost of the new roof.

Extensive testing following roof leakage during spring melt has indicated that the modular roofing panels have experienced shrinkage, creating gaps and potential for water infiltration across the facility’s roof system, states the release. APP recommends full replacement of the entire roof as the best way to address the problem. 

The release goes on to say the provincial government’s number one priority throughout the process of replacing the SHNB roof will be to ensure that any impact to patient care is minimized, while also ensuring patient, staff and visitor safety.

Because construction of the new SHNB was undertaken through a Public-Private Partnership, which the province says saves government and taxpayers the costs of risks by assigning responsibility for risks and all related costs to the private sector partners, APP will pay for the new roof.

“As a result of the unique protections provided through the P3 project agreement, all costs for the roof replacement will be APP’s responsibility,” stated the release. 

APP is currently developing a plan for the roof replacement, stated the release. While there is currently no confirmation of how long the work will take or how soon work will begin, SaskBuilds will work with the Ministry of Health, the Saskatchewan Health Authority, the Ministry of Corrections and Policing, Central Services and APP to ensure that plan minimizes the impact to patients, staff and visitors. 

This afternoon at the Saskatoon Cabinet Office, Health Minister Jim Reiter held a press conference on the SHNB roof replacement, along with CEO Kyle Toffan and Jill Zimmer of SaskBuilds.

Reiter was able to shed some more light on what happened. He told reporters that during the spring melt, the hospital staff had noticed water damage in the roof of the hospital's gymnasium, and they contacted the consortium Access Prairies Partnership. 

The consortium then assessed the damage to determine the cause and found the insulation roofing panels had shrunk.

"Obviously, there is going to be some disruption here," said Reiter. "They are working right now, we expect it to take two or three weeks as they continue to work on this. They'll come up with a construction plan on how they're going to reconstruct the roof. At that point, then, our officials will be working with them."

Reiter added they want to ensure there is "the least disruption to the residents of the hospital. We're very optimistic about that happening." He also re-emphasized that because of the nature of the P3 contract, taxpayers will not be responsible for funding the work to be done.

The minister was not specific about how long the reconstruction will take or what form. Reiter expects it will be done incrementally so whlle there might be movement of patients inside the facility, he was hopeful patients would not be moved outside the facility -- that will be determined in the next number of weeks, he said. 

For a huge capital project "it's not unusual for there to be deficiencies," Reiter added. The reason they were informing the media about this was because this one was much more signficant, and they were attempting to be as transparent as possible.

In speaking to reporters, Toffan noted the roof problem was an "unforseeable issue -- a manufactured product that failed." It was a situation that none of the experts could pick up during the construction phase. 

"It didn't perform as it was supposed to perform." 

© Copyright Battlefords News Optimist