[REGIONAL NEWS] Fired Denver airport contractors’ claims raise questions about oversight as massive project restarts

DIA is rebooting renovation with more supervision after terminating Great Hall Partners

Travelers make their way around walls and construction inside Denver International Airport’s Great Hall at DIA in Denver, Colorado. Denver International Airport has moved to terminate the $1.8 billion contract with Great Hall construction partners for its problem-plagued terminal renovation project,.
/Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post

By Jon Murray | The Denver Post

Picking out toilet partitions, fixtures, sinks and mirrors for an airport bathroom apparently isn’t as simple as it might seem — it took Denver International Airport and the contractors on its massive terminal renovation more than 14 months to settle on the final restroom design.

Same with the walls throughout the terminal: After DIA officials opted early on to use laminate and another material for wall coverings, they decided in December 2018, as the design was being set, to change to acrylic “solid surface” panels for 200,000 square feet of walls. It then took more than four months to make the final choices, including whether the panels should be seamless.

When DIA and the city terminated Great Hall Partners’ public-private partnership contract in August, the airport blamed the contractors, saying budget-busting cost increases and delay projections on the $650 million project were out of proportion with requested changes and other disputes.

But a deep review by The Denver Post of expansive compensation claims filed by Great Hall in the weeks before the termination — documents released only after that decision was reached — paints a different picture. Ultimately, Great Hall projected overruns totaling $288 million and more than two years of delays past the November 2021 completion target.

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