November 29, 2023

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School Expansion Plans |  Higher heating in construction increases costs

School Expansion Plans | Higher heating in construction increases costs

School expansion projects cost 100% more than the budget, thus costing the government $ 424 million a year more than originally planned. The increase was due to higher temperatures in the construction industry.

Released at 5:00 p.m.

Mary-Eve Morassae

Mary-Eve Morassae

Those who have embarked on renovation work in recent years have seen how much the sector has become more expensive. For the expansion and construction of schools, Quebec taxpayers have risen to 424 million, as a result of 61 requests for “extra contribution” made to the Ministry of Education by School Service Centers 1.Er March 2021.

At the Laval School Service Center (CSSDL) alone, the government had to pay nearly $ 57 million more than expected for the five projects. Of these, the construction of a special school for students with disabilities or social disorders has increased its budget from $ 26 million to $ 48 million.

At the Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Service Center (CSSMB) in Montreal, this is more than 30 million more than what Quebec has to raise from the treasury for four projects.

For example, the expansion of St. Louis Elementary School in Point-Clare will cost twice as much as planned in the Quebec Infrastructure Project (2019-2029).

For 12 classes and a dual gym, the lowest bidder asked for 19.9 million or 9.9 million more than what was listed on the PQI two years ago. Quebec approved additional funding last fall.

The Ministry of Education says an additional 424 million a year is said to have been explained for “various reasons”, including “the inclusion of classes or public spaces during the program”. […] Adding special site conditions, property maintenance tasks […]Current construction market conditions or other unforeseen factors beyond the control of the Ministry.

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CSSMB notes, for its part, that “the value of projects has increased significantly in recent months.”

The number of bids received (up to seven per project) confirms that the costs are well reflected in the current market.

Annie Bourassa, spokeswoman for the Marguerite-Bourgeoys School Service Center

He notes that each time large projects are implemented in schools, the service center takes advantage of the opportunity to do work to maintain assets and “control the impact” on students.

Of the 19 million spent on the Paul-Gérin-Lajoie-d’Outremont school expansion, 3 million is dedicated to maintaining the current building in good condition. For this project, the department has approved approximately $ 8 million more funding than was established two years ago.

Rising commodity prices

To illustrate the explosion in the price of some projects, the Marguerite-Borgeoys School Service Center specifically cited the rise in prices of raw materials such as steel and wood, but “a staggering rise in prices related to wall curtains. [fenêtres]Or almost 40% in recent months.

Photo by Hugo-Sebastien Abert, La Press Archives

Yves Michel Volcy, General Manager of the Laval School Service Center

The Laval School Service Center has a similar explanation. Yves Michel Volcy, CEO of CSSDL, writes, “Due to the warming of the construction industry, especially in the metropolitan area, we have been forced to revise some budgets in order to carry out our school construction projects.”

Even before the epidemic, construction costs in Quebec were rising. In 2019, school expansion and renovation projects will cost 30% more than expected.

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Three years later, Guilloom Hull, a spokesman for the Association de la Construction of Quebec (ACQ), explains that the industry is still “very unstable and very complex.”

Between October 2020 and October 2021, he says, the price of oil and ferrous metals increased by almost 75%.

“Oil is the equivalent of anything made of plastic, fuel for heavy machinery. As for ferrous metals, we can think of steel as anything in a project. [de construction] Mr. Hull says.

Photo by Marco Campanosi, Press Archives

The construction of two sports facilities at Saint-Maxime High School in Laval will cost 7.6 million more than expected in the initial budget.

As the effect of the epidemic begins to fade, war breaks out in Ukraine, which is losing the world to the construction of Russian and Ukrainian products. “It creates pressure on distribution at this point,” Guilloo Hull notes.

Despite the increase in project costs, the Department considers it “necessary to implement already approved projects, taking into account the space requirements found in the network”.

Projects that increase costs

Construction of two playgrounds at Saint-Maxime High School in Laval:

  • Initial budget: 13.4 million
  • Revised budget: 21 million

Conversion of a building in 2100 into the Ro Gunard (Laval) Vocational Training and Adult Education Center:

  • Initial budget: 39.7 million
  • Revised budget: 61.3 million

Source: CSSDL