Denver airport construction: Fired Great Hall contractors sought $450 million to finish work, new documents show

The fired construction team on Denver International Airport’s terminal renovation estimated before it was cut loose that finishing the work would have taken an additional $450 million — a prospect that would have pushed the project’s budget over $1.1 billion.

New documents released Wednesday detail those extra cost estimates as part of compensation and delay claims Great Hall Partners submitted in late July. The team also estimated delays on the project stretching about 28 months — which would have pushed completion of the year-old project from November 2021 to February 2024.

Unlike the nearly $455 million in cost overruns, which greatly exceeded a $311 million estimate disclosed by Great Hall to the airport earlier this year, that new delay projection shrank from Great Hall’s prior estimates. In June, it projected 31 to 39 extra months, which could have meant completion as late as 2025.

The renovation project’s original budget was $650 million, as part of Great Hall’s $1.8 billion, 34-year public-private partnership deal with DIA. That long arrangement also was to include three decades of oversight and maintenance of expanded food and retail concessions in the terminal.

All along, DIA has distanced itself from Great Hall’s cost and delay estimates, while declining to provide its own.

RELATED: Denver airport fires Great Hall construction partners

“These were so exaggerated and unrealistic that it was a clear decision to terminate this contract,” said Stacey Stegman, DIA’s senior vice president of communications, on Wednesday evening. “We can complete the project faster and for less money than what they were asking for.”

In discussing the termination Tuesday, airport CEO Kim Day would say only that the original late-2021 target was unrealistic. But she didn’t think it would take as long as Great Hall partners projected, and she promised to keep costs from soaring so high.

Before DIA terminated Great Hall’s contract, the airport had declined to release the July claims at the behest of the contracting team, which cited business confidentiality exceptions in Colorado’s open-records law.

But Great Hall’s stance changed Wednesday, a day after DIA officials made Monday night’s termination decision public. That resulted in the documents’ release by DIA, although with small portions redacted by Great Hall.

The contracting team’s intent was to provide more backing for its long-held position that DIA’s meddling in the project and slowness to make decisions was mostly to blame for the project’s problems. (DIA officials, in turn, have accused Great Hall executives of failing to provide timely cost and delay estimates.)

Project changes and weak concrete

The documents cover a dozen compensation and delay claims. Together, they show Great Hall’s view of the fallout from the discovery last fall of weaker-than-expected original concrete in the main level’s flooring, a concern that halted some work for months but since has dissipated after more testing. Other claims concern about 20 disputed airport change directives involving designs, materials and other elements that the two sides have been warring about.

The cover letter for each claim alleged that despite numerous meetings with DIA’s project team, all decisions on change directives …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Politics


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