Volume 12, Number 16 April 15, 2005

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Rising costs may affect projects

Rapidly escalating construction costs in Canada and elsewhere, driven in part by a building boom in China and other parts of Asia, may force the U of S to either scale back upcoming building projects, look for cost savings, or find additional sources of funding.

Tony Whitworth, Vice-President of Finance & Resources, says the Board of Governors was told at its April 8 meeting that recent tenders for parts of the expansion project at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine have come in from 19-30 per cent above the original estimates.

A check by the Facilities Management Division (FMD) found that the same thing is happening elsewhere in Saskatchewan.

Whitworth says the building boom in Asia, combined with an associated jump in the costs of steel and cement, are having a worldwide impact. The rise in oil and fuel prices is also contributing.

“Locally, the city of Saskatoon also has major capital improvements in the works, and there is an increasing shortage of tradespeople,” Whitworth says.

All this means that where in the past five or six companies might have bid on a major construction project in Saskatchewan, now only one or two might bid.

If this trend continues, “there may be a problem for larger University projects like the Academic Health Sciences Centre, InterVac, the new residences, and the Law expansion,” Whitworth says.

For more information, contact communications.office@usask.ca

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