Much ado about (WLMH rebuild project) costing

Last week, Infrastructure Ontario (IO) released its fall Market Update report. The report reiterates the government’s commitment to rebuild WLMH, which we completely expected, but it’s always great news regardless. (The WLMH rebuild project has been included in IO’s updates for almost two years.)

The report, however, noted for the first time that WLMH project is now included in the “$200 – $499 million” budget range, which is an increase from the “less than $200 million” budget range we’ve been working toward. This change on paper has encouraged some excitement in the community and beyond.

We asked our WLMH redevelopment lead for his take on this development.

“I get the excitement about this project, we’re really excited too,” said Bart DeVries, HHS director of redevelopment projects. “Based on my experience with large scale infrastructure projects, this is to be expected. It’s important to note that this development doesn’t mean there have been any significant changes to our planning. The difference between the previous budget range [<$200M] and the new budget range [$200M-$499M] could technically be $1. At the end of the day, the market will dictate what the true value of the project will be and that’s still a little way down the road.”

Budgeting for large, public-private partnership (P3) projects is a complex process with many moving parts. Ultimately the goal is to get the best value-for-money spent.

“The budget refinement process will continue as we proceed through Stage 3 toward construction. We’re still working under the original budget assumptions, which is the prudent approach. We’ve hired our costing team who are experts in budgeting for projects of this size and scope. They will tell us the anticipated project cost based on our requirements, which will be kept confidential and used to inform our plans. The private-sector teams bidding on the design-build contract for the hospital will include their project cost in their bids, which will also based on our requirements. Once a winning bid is selected by IO and HHS together, we will release the fixed-price contract value,” DeVries explained.

Many elements can influence a change in project budget, such as cost and availability of construction materials, labour and skilled trades. Time tends to drive the cost of the required elements up higher so planning needs to account for that possibility. It’s also wise to include contingency for unexpected costs, especially given the impacts the ongoing global pandemic is having and will likely continue to have on supply chains.

“These are the types of things we have been planning for since we started Stage 2 and why we always build contingency in to our projected budget,” he noted.

In terms of WLMH project timelines, we’re aiming to submit our Stage 2 plan to the ministry by Hallowe’en. The Request for Qualifications, which is the initial call for teams eligible to deliver the project, will be posted later this fall. Teams prequalified through this process will be named in early 2021, and invited to respond to a Request for Proposals later in the year.

What’s Up @ WLMH: August 2020

WLMH ORs Reopening September 14

Critical safety upgrades required in the WLMH operating rooms (ORs) are now complete. Activity in the ORs will gradually resume, starting the week of September 14.

Patients will soon be able to receive high-quality procedures closer to home, in an environment that meets standards for safety and infection control.

Which services will be provided?

Services resuming in the coming weeks include:
• Endoscopy procedures
• Gynecology and general surgery cases, addressing the backlog created by the province-wide COVID-19 surgical shutdown
• Elements of obstetrics services, such as scheduled cesarean births

We continue to focus on building up OR nursing staff levels to increase on-call capabilities at WLMH and support more surgical services over time.

What does this mean for patients?

Patients will be contacted by their health-care provider about scheduling their procedures.

Additional information for obstetrical patients is available here.

We appreciate everyone’s ongoing patience and resilience while these necessary safety upgrades were taking place.


What’s coming up this fall?

Work is progressing on a number of priorities at the site. Here’s a look ahead to what’s happening in the coming months:

September

  • Surgical activity gradually resuming in WLMH ORs
  • Construction starts on CT scanner suite

October

  • Building a New WLMH – Stage 2 submission on track to share with Ministry of Health for review and approval

November

  • Two-Year infrastructure project wrapping up – three months ahead of schedule!

What’s Up @ WLMH: July 2020

Local leader to head up rebuild project team

Hamilton Health Sciences recently made a big hire for the #newWLMH team. Grimsby-resident Bart DeVries is coming on board as our Director of Redevelopment Projects and is taking the lead on the rebuild.

Meet Bart.

Mental health clinic staffer earns elite clinical certification

Congratulations to Aprile Titterson – a social worker at the West Niagara Mental Health clinic at WLMH – on recently completing the Prolonged Exposure (PE) certification for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This is a huge accomplishment as Aprile now finds herself in an elite group of only 25 PE Certified Therapists across Canada. With this certification, Aprile’s expertise will expand treatment offered to the West Niagara community for those dealing with PTSD, adding to the considerable clinical supports and services currently provided at the clinic.

“I feel very grateful to work with such a caring and driven team of professionals that prioritize evidence-based practices to best support the community of West Niagara.  Prolonged Exposure is one of the many therapies we utilize to help individuals move forward in their lives. Clinically, it is a very rewarding experience to see how this therapy can help transform a person’s life in such meaningful ways.  Also, a special mention to Christopher Conley who has been such an important driver in bringing so many learning opportunities to the staff at our clinic and often extending the learning to other clinics throughout Niagara region,” says Aprile.

Conley, a Senior Clinical Specialist at the clinic, was Aprile’s certification supervisor and also continues to serve the community as a PE Certified Therapist.

Planning, design and conformance team selected for WLMH project

In case you missed it, we’ve brought B+H Architects / mcCallumSather on as the planning, design and conformance (PDC) team for the rebuild. Read the full announcement here.

Ongoing Infrastructure Updates

Work Completed
– Commissioning of Diesel Generator #1
– Parking Lot Lighting Replacement

Upcoming Work
– ED and BWard – lighting, plumbing fixture replacement, window sills – Fall

Local leader to head up rebuild project

Hamilton Health Sciences recently made a big hire for the #newWLMH team. Grimsby-resident Bart DeVries is coming on board as our Director of Redevelopment Projects and is taking the lead on the rebuild. Here’s a little bit about Bart.

Tell us about yourself and your background.

BD: I grew up in Beamsville and live in Grimsby. I was born at WLMH, as were my seven children. I’ve been in the redevelopment and project management field for the last 17 years, working both locally and nationally. I’ve worked at HHS for a few different periods throughout my career.

What hospital development projects have you worked on previously?

BD: I’ve had the opportunity to work on a range of development projects, from small to large-scale, both at HHS and as a consultant. Between 2012 and 2016 I was the Senior Project Manager for the development of the Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre in Hamilton. I led the project from planning to close out and I’m proud to say it was delivered ahead of schedule and on budget. I’ve also spent some time working at Colliers managing teams of equipment consultants on projects across Canada. In this role I will be working on other HHS projects in the future as well.

What is your role in building the #newWLMH?

BD: Going forward, I’ll be responsible for the overall management and execution of the project. This means managing internal and consulting teams throughout planning, design, construction, and occupancy, while being a main point of contact for our partners at the Ministry of Health and Infrastructure Ontario. Myself and our team of internal staff will be responsible for making sure this project is successful and I know we’re up to the challenge. I’m very familiar with HHS and P3 methodology, so this project is a natural fit.

What does building a new WLMH mean to you?

BD: This new hospital will be the largest single piece of infrastructure ever delivered in this community. The scale of the project is exciting and so is being part of the process of bringing it to life. Also, the community has been behind the project for a long time and has been very patient waiting for this to happen. This motivates me to get it right and I’m excited to be able to execute this project on behalf of the community. When I get involved in a project, I put everything into it and I get very passionate about my work. As mentioned, I have a number of personal connections to the hospital and I’m glad to be part of this next chapter of WLMH’s story.

Fun Fact: Bart’s father, and more recently his brother, have managed landscaping at the WLMH site since the 1980s.

What’s Up @ WLMH: COVID-19

We are taking precautions at Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) to ensure the safety of our staff, physicians, patients, families and community. More information related to COVID-19 is available here:

Hamilton Health Sciences hospital information

Niagara Region Public Health
Hospital access

Visitor guidelines have changed and we have moved to a no-visitor policy with very few exceptions. Based on these guidelines, infrastructure work at WLMH, with the exception of some limited outside work, has been placed on hold. 

Patient care

 The Ministry of Health has mandated all health care facilities to postpone all non-urgent elective activity, including surgeries and non-urgent clinic visits.

Some patients receiving non-urgent scheduled care may access care by phone or virtually

Elective surgeries are being postponed and perioperative services at West Lincoln are temporarily closed. This will support additional patient care capacity and availability of health care professionals in the weeks ahead.  West Lincoln patients requiring urgent surgical procedures will receive care at the appropriate alternative hospital.  Patients will be notified by their surgeon if their surgery is deferred. 

Planning for a new WLMH

The Capital Planning team continues to move forward with planning for the new WLMH. Kick-off meetings took place earlier this month. Work led by non-clinical team members continues to move ahead. We remain committed to moving forward, recognizing COVID-19 presents an evolving situation and patient care requirements remain our top priority. 

Follow us on social media

We’re sharing timely updates and shareable content on our social media channels, like this “five small acts” campaign, which is linked at the handles below.
Twitter: @HamHealthSci
Instagram: HamiltonHealthSciences
Facebook: @HamHealthSci