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The new Royal Adelaide Hospital: a case study in blow-outs, red tape and union influence

26 Jul 2017

Did you know that the seventh most expensive building in the world is being built right here in Australia? No, it’s not a giant apartment block on the Gold Coast. It’s not a flashy new casino. It’s not even the recently announced hotel and apartment complex that will be attached to MoNA in Hobart.

It’s the new Royal Adelaide Hospital (nRAH)—a project that is 18 months behind schedule and $640 million over budget. This makes the 800-bed hospital—a public-private partnership—the most expensive building in Australia and the largest capital investment project in South Australian history.

But why has this project blown-out? Aside from the optimistic assumptions, project scope changes, ignorance of the technical demand and safety concerns, the nRAH has gone through legal action between the SA government and the builders and unlawful industrial action and anti-competitive behaviour by the CFMEU. In this way the nRAH is a contemporary example of why desperate reform is needed in the delivery of state-based major projects.

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