SNC-Lavalin suing MUHC for $330 million over superhospital contract

Montreal engineering giant SNC-Lavalin is suing the McGill University Health Centre for $330 million over the contract to build the new McGill superhospital, alleging last minute changes to the contract significantly boosted construction costs.

Company alleges last minute changes to plans boosted costs

SNC Lavalin and its consortium partners are launching a $330 million lawsuit against the McGill University health Centre over the contract for the new superhospital. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

Montreal engineering giant SNC-Lavalin is suing the McGill University Health Centre for $330 million over the contract to build the new McGill superhospital, alleging last minute changes to the contract significantly boosted construction costs.

SNC launched the legal action along with its consortium partner in the public-private-partnership deal to build the hospital, Innisfree UK.

In a statement released Friday morning, SNC alleges that the Quebec government and the MUHC significantly changed specifications and surface area requirements for the new hospital after the contract was signed and construction was underway.

The company says that as a result, the building is larger than originally planned and cost more money – $330 million more.

The consortium said it tried to negotiate, but that didn't work.

Health Minister Gaétan Barrette called the lawsuit a tactic by SNC to get more money. He said the government will pay for any reasonable overruns, but not more.

The initial contract is already the subject of a criminal investigation.

Quebec Crown prosecutors allege former SNC executives paid a $22.5 million bribe to the former CEO of the MUHC Arthur Porter in exchange for obtaining the $1.4 billion contract.