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Report: Toronto's Auditor-General raises red flags over Sony Centre reno

A report due at city hall's Executive Committee say the estimated $28 million project is now expected to cost around $40 million

A stage at Toronto's Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
Photo: sonycentre.ca

The city of Toronto's Auditor-General is not happy.

Jeff Griffiths is alleging that most of the contracts he looked at regarding the redevelopment of the city-owned Sony Centre for the Performing Arts were sole source contracts; meaning no open and competitive bidding happened before the deal was approved.

The Toronto Star has its hands on a Griffiths report showing that the original $28-million job is now expected to come in on the high side of $40-million.  

The Auditor-General is accusing city staff of taking a hands-off approach to the Sony Centre redevelopment, which left it in hands of people with little experience in managing such a large-scale project.

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  1. Peter posted on 05/13/2014 09:13 AM
    .
    When a projects cost increases, and when a projects finish time is delayed, the cause quite often is not by the contractor.

    The contractor is most likely floored by the customer who steers the project wrong with bad directives and bad information. The increase in costs is the fault of the customer.

    This is admitted by the Auditor-General which accuses city staff of taking a hands-off approach to the Sony Centre redevelopment, which left it in hands of people with little experience in managing such a large-scale project.

    It's like your boss at work screwing up a project when you could have done it elegantly and efficiently on your own if your boss didn't interfere.

    .
  2. Frankie posted on 05/13/2014 09:16 AM
    The civil servants and councillors don't give a damn since it's not their money. That's the first and most significant problem. Overseers should have their jobs on the line the same way as the private sector, then they'll do a proper job of specking the project beforehand and holding the contractor accountable.

    Simple solution if anyone really cares.
    1. Peter posted on 05/13/2014 09:46 AM
      @Frankie .

      I agree with you Frankie,

      But the contractor is most likely being pissed on.

      It's the purchaser who will stop a job in midstream
      and make things go backwards, or cancel specs to
      introduce different specs that screws up the job
      model.

      .
    2. Frankie posted on 05/13/2014 10:51 AM
      @Peter True. I also think it's a game between the city and contractors. City's incompetence on construction well known so contractors likely lowball to get job and make their profit on the screwups and changes city makes.

      Does anyone think these outrageous cost overruns would be tolerated in private industry? Heads would roll.

      100% the city's responsibility.
  3. franklin posted on 05/13/2014 01:00 PM
    Projects need to be put in the hands of private sector contractors whose future work with the city will depend on bringing projects in on time and on budget.

    The current structure leads to mismanagement. Instead, it should help create and reinforce it.
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