BC Hydro identifies Peter Kiewit Infrastructure as Preferred Contractor for long overdue WAC Bennett Dam Repairs

As someone who has picked apart nearly every transportation project in the province with a fine tooth comb, it should be no surprise to anyone to discover that Kiewit is the preferred contractor for another big project in BC, this time for the WAC Bennett Dam repairs I’ve been writing extensively about.

This from documents filed with the BC Utilities Commission in the ongoing hearings: http://www.bcuc.com/Documents/Proceedings/2016/DOC_46161_B-14_BCH-EvidentiaryUpdate.pdf

Kiewit

Kiewit of course, has been the subject of pages of posts here on the blog, long having been a preferred contractor of the BC government regardless of how many bids come in.

Most recently on the never-ending Sea to Sky highways stories, I broke the news of defects in retaining walls built along that highway,posting photos of the concerns. An investigation revealed two walls needed immediate repairs( which were ongoing last year). It was further revealed by Jane Seyd of the North Shore news, that Kiewit had used materials in those walls that did not meet ministry of transportation standards…. ( Calling BC Hydro-I’m sure that would never happen with dam repairs, right? )

Kiewit was a big donor years ago for the Liberals – in 2015, end of July, they made a $3500.00 donation… and another smaller one of $1200.00 right before Christmas.

Kiewit

The more I follow this story on the WAC Bennett Dam repairs- thanks to the review of the BC Utilities Commission- the more I see that the public would never have otherwise heard of.

And…. the more certain I am that this government has been negligent in refusing to allow the Commission to review Site C.

 

 

***Of interest to motorists endlessly peeved over the heaves on the South Fraser Perimeter Road, and the truckers who regularly roll over on the ramps that seem to be designed incorrectly,motorists in Oregon took matters into their own hands recently filing a suit against Kiewit for improper design leading to accidents in a similar situation: http://www.constructiondive.com/news/or-motorists-file-2m-suit-against-kiewit-state-over-crash-prone-highway/416910/

Neither the Ministry of Transportation or the Builder/operator of the highway, Fraser Transportation Group, has been able to come up with a remedy for the frequent rollovers on the SFPR… which seems to me to be a screwup of epic proportions,not unlike the massive heaves along the river portion of the highway. http://www.burnabynow.com/news/no-easy-fix-for-sfpr-s-rollover-prone-intersection-1.1937256 

 

20 thoughts on “BC Hydro identifies Peter Kiewit Infrastructure as Preferred Contractor for long overdue WAC Bennett Dam Repairs

  1. Who the heck is Peter Kiewit Infrastructures? Some dodge to avoid association with their other screw-ups? I believe the original dam was built by Peter Kiewit Sons of Canada Ltd. Then they changed it to good ol’ Peter Kiewit Sons. Then it became Kiewit Flatiron. Doesn’t matter what the name, the association is still there.

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    1. Hawgwash

      Flatiron hahahaha.
      Kiewit Flatiron on the Bennett Dam.
      Flatiron-Dragados Joint Venture on the Ruskin Dam
      Can Kiewit-Dragados be far behind.

      Gee, I wonder if Kiewit is a silent money caretaker in the Ruskin Dam refit which, I am told by a good hands on source out there in the bush back of Mission, will be one and a half, possibly two years beyond the original projected completion.

      I bet 90% of the people in BC have never heard of Ruskin.
      Shhhhhhhh…

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      1. Laila Yuile

        Dragados has some interesting connections via a couple of the companies they purchased in the US during their expansion a few years ago …them partnering up with Kiewit? To be honest I’m surprised they haven’t yet 😉

        I’m really bothered by this bidding process. Very bothered. Considering we know Kiewit used materials not approved by the ministry on the Sea to Sky retaining walls,and two mayor rebuilds and reinforcements have already had to be done, this process with hydro needs to be more transparent. Time and time again, Kiewit keeps getting the bids.With the BC govt MOT, and with BC Hydro.

        Who were the other bidders? What were their bids? Why is Kiewit the preferred contractor once again?

        And just imagine… no scrutiny whatsoever on the bids,the plans etc… anything for Site C. None. No questions as to accuracy of numbers,need… even the joint review panel said the BCUC should be reviewing it because these issues were outside their scope.

        If I were the auditor general I would be taking a look at all of this, asap.

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  2. D. M. Johnston

    RE: SFPR: it is so badly designed and so badly built, that the road, just two years old, is suffering from many major problems. The Hwy 17/17A interchange is a joke, badly designed and grossly over engineered.

    The Hwy 99/17 interchange is so gold plated, one wonders how it was allowed to be built. Three overpasses instead of one; a one-way road with passing bays;

    The tried and true cloverleaf design was abandoned with a massive amount of concrete and pavement, with reverse curves and tight leads, that it is a danger.

    No foundation on the peat portions cause major heaving and, well so much is wrong with this road, it beggars description.

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  3. Debbie McBride

    All of the egregious flaws of the SFPR were pointed out by the public and professional engineers before it was built. As usual the Liberal government ignored what was obvious, using flawed figures and manipulated data.
    This should be a huge red flag to what we’ll see occurring on the Massey tunnel replacement project. That project is also going ahead despite concerns and a lack of oversight of a proper environmental review.

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    1. Laila Yuile

      Ah yes… and the downgrading..over and over. I agree. Wrote quite abit about the SFPR and have done many interviews on it as well. The govt really relies on the public not paying much attention to these kind of stories but this is at the heart of where corruption can and does occur. Kickbacks.Inflated claims.And of course for every disaster that might happen there is a clause to exempt it so that even fixed price contracts… are never fixed price. Something I covered here https://lailayuile.com/2012/02/26/official-truths-are-often-powerful-illusions-john-pilger/

      But because the general public doesn’t know better….? They get a pass.

      This one particular post has been a top post every year since I wrote it. And for good reason – it contains the corruption in construction report that was issued but hardly written about that had some interesting points about government projects in BC https://lailayuile.com/2013/01/02/the-top-post-of-2012-on-lailayuile-com-how-money-and-corruption-are-ruining-the-land-originally-posted-june-19th-2012/

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  4. cfvua

    As I attempt to cross the badly decayed 50 plus year old bridge with one lane only operational. This is ongoing with 6 welding trucks with light towers and traffic control units. Huge money being spent on patching up this bridge. Why there is even discussion on a new Frasercrossing when this bridge is way up the priority list is anyone’s guess. Kiewit was the original contractor on the fill portion of WAC Bennett. And I believe Kiewit Dragados was listed as one of the four groups that BCHydro “interviewed” for Site C. Maybe the rip rap replacement was the consolation prize vis a vis BCRail? As the numbers are all confidential we can’t find out the details beyond the $1.75 Billion that the project is said to be worth. There are stories that major components like the pen stocks were removed to stay with that number. There are also stories that PRHP has problems with their safe work procedures, which have been rumoured to have been rejected twice. So come on insiders….tell us what’s up. All it takes is one brown envelope and you will have done the right thing.

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    1. Laila Yuile

      Please do. I welcome brown envelopes. And I could firmly believe that this work for the WAC Bennett was a consolation prize. That happens all the time….

      Good tips. Thank you 🙂

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  5. cfvua

    Sorry. The bady decayed bridge is on the Peace River at Taylor ironically only about 8 miles downstream of a brand new one BCHydro just finished building to get things past the point of no return. No details available on the cost of that one either.

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  6. e.a.f.

    just another day in B.C. wonder how much the K. firm gave to the B.C Lieberals in the last few years along with their executives? wonder if any of them were at those lovely soirees at $20K a crack.

    My personal opinion, if this province doesn’t get rid of Christy Clark and the B.C. Lieberals we may start to rival some of the American sourthern states or places like Russia.

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  7. There are reasons why contractors go through various metamorphisis; I can’t speculate on this particular change. One thing that needs to be listened for is the voice of the Building Trades. As I understand Hydro unilaterally walked away from the highly successful Allied Hydro collective agreement, opening the way for a complete lack of contractual control over labour on its sites (beginning with Site C). Already the same pattern we have seen on other major public construction contracts – the “preferred contractors” have a relationship with CLAC. This leaves everything open for them to exploit ad virtually ensures BCers will NOT receive any priority in hiring. I wonder whether CLAC buys access through costly fund raisers or if that is left to their corporate masters ?

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  8. Laila – I’m horrified that your readers don’t know about “the Great Canadian Coincidence” by which all acts of apparent favouritism of the powerful towards the powerful can be explained, things like Independent Power Projects, highway contracts and how David Johnston became Governor General after giving Brian Mulroney a “Get out of jail free” card. No need to think nasty thoughts or have your blood constantly near the boil, forget about why our newspapers love the government, oil companies and pipelines, don’t wonder whether real estate tycoons get any little presents for giving Christy all that loot! Just remember that these and a host of other eyebrow raising and nostril destructive happenings are easily explained by the Great Canadian Coincidence. Mumble GCC three times with two stiff scotches and it all goes away!

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  9. Laila Yuile

    A must read. Don’t need a facebook account to read Integrity BC’s posts, they are public. But you need an account to comment or comment here if you don’t have one. So, what does the Sea-to-Sky Highway Improvement Project have in common with Site C?

    First, you need to go back to 2005, when Partnerships BC reached an agreement with S2S Transportation Group for the Sea-to-Sky project. S2S was made up of six companies, including Peter Kiewit Sons and the Macquarie Group.

    At the time, Frank Margitan was the vice-president of Peter Kiewit Sons and is identified in legal documents as the “Project Manager” for Sea-to-Sky.

    In those same documents, Gary Webster is identified as the Province’s Representative, a position that can include approving invoices for payment. Webster was a senior vice-president at CH2M Hill.

    While these payments will not be exclusive to Sea-to-Sky – from 2005 to 2011 – CH2M Hill billed the BC government $95,081,983.

    Frank went on to retire, albeit he still does some consultancy work from time-to-time and Gary went on to KPMG.

    And there it might all have ended, except for one funny little coincidence.

    From an October 20, 2014 letter to BC Hydro: “As part of its due diligence process and to support its final investment decision, BC Hydro asked me to engage a panel of industry experts, to undertake an independent review of the direct cost estimate, and provide an opinion regarding its completeness, sufficiency and accuracy.”

    Who signed that letter? Frank Margitan.

    But you can never be too sure. Never hurts to get a second opinion on the independent panel’s review, the one headed-up by Frank. So off to KPMG.

    Here’s part of what KPMG wrote in its December 4, 2014 letter: “The expert panel of construction estimators that independently reviewed the major components of the estimate was again a level of diligence that increases the confidence of the estimate compared with other capital projects…The level of detail of this panel review was comprehensive and was performed by reviewing backup information and interviewing the estimating team.”

    High praise indeed. And who signed KPMG’s letter? Gary Webster. Small world, huh?

    While these payments will not be exclusive to the Site C project – from 2009 to 2015 – KPMG billed BC Hydro $11,569,692. KPMG is also BC Hydro’s independent auditor.

    Webster also noted in his letter that: “KPMG worked with Partnerships BC to ensure that the approach in assessing and valuing risks on the Site C project was consistent with the standard approach developed and implemented on other Government projects.”

    Those would be the projects that consistently come in over budget and behind schedule. Think Evergreen Line.

    Webster added: “Based on input from the project team and our experience with other projects adopting a management reserve of at least 5% of the direct costs would be a reasonable practice.”

    Sea-to-Sky went over its initial estimate by 29 per cent. We’ve included a table in the IntegrityBC thread comparing initial estimates against actual costs on 18 infrastructure projects.

    Oh, and who was on the board of directors of Partnerships BC at the time? Frank Blasetti of Fast Ferries and Port Mann Bridge fame. Really small world.

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