N.W.T. Housing Corp. 'exploring all options' as contractor fails to build modular homes on time

The minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation says 11 of 19 modular duplex units that were supposed to be delivered to N.W.T. communities this summer haven’t been built and it’s unclear if the contract will be able to complete the order.

Minister says 19 units were to be finished this summer

A modular house is loaded onto a truck in this CBC file photo. The Northwest Territories Housing Corporation had signed a contract for 19 to be delivered this year. As of Oct. 20, only four partially built units have been delivered to N.W.T. communities. (CBC)

Eleven of 19 modular duplex units that were supposed to be delivered to N.W.T. communities this summer haven't been built, and the minister responsible for the project says it's unclear whether the contractor will be able to complete the order.

Caroline Cochrane, the minister responsible for the Northwest Territories Housing Corporation, gave details about the behind-schedule homes in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday after questions from Yellowknife Centre MLA Julie Green.

Concept Energy Services Ltd., based in Hay River, N.W.T., won the contract to build the modular homes in the summer of 2016. The homes were supposed to be delivered between March and June 2017, Cochrane said.

As of Oct. 20, eight of the homes are partially completed, Cochrane said. Three are in Ulukhaktok, one that's expected to go to Fort McPherson is in Inuvik, and four are under construction at Concept Energy's Hay River facility.

'Gamut of options' to be considered

Concept Energy received some of the money up front, as part of the territory's manufacturing strategy, Cochrane said. When asked about how much was spent, she said she didn't know how much was paid but that it had all been "recouped" and nothing is owed to the territorial government.

Cochrane didn't explain why the homes are behind schedule, but said "delays" have set back the timeline for Concept Energy Services and "they have not met their completion date."

Some homes were sent out of the factory partially complete because the housing corporation wanted to ship them by barge before the winter freeze-up, Cochrane said. Another contract has been posted to complete them.

The housing corporation is "exploring all the options that are available to us, to ensure that all the houses meet their needs within the communities," Cochrane said.

For the remaining homes, the housing corporation is "looking at options" for how to get them built, Cochrane said, including putting out a new contract.

"There's a variety of ways," Cochrane said. "We can support Concept Energy, we can put them out to public tender, negotiated contracts with communities, there's a whole gamut of options that we can consider." 

She promised a decision would be made within two weeks.

CBC News contacted Concept Energy Services for comment Friday, but has not heard back from company president Pierre (Rocky) Simpson. 


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