BUILDER John Holland could be liable for a bill of more than $40 million over delays at the beleaguered Perth Children's Hospital project, the State Government's lawyer has revealed.
Acting State Solicitor Nick Egan told a parliamentary inquiry into the project that, under the terms of the contract, John Holland had to pay $180,000 a day for each day beyond a certain date without practical completion being achieved, up to a cap of $42.5 million.
It is understood the date was set as August 31, 2015, meaning the cap was reached in April last year. Practical completion was met 12 months later in April this year.
A spokesman for Treasurer Ben Wyatt confirmed the $42.5 million was the sole remedy for contracted delays at the project, but it did not limit the State's capacity to seek damages for other matters, including the remediation of water contamination.
On a mammoth day of public hearings into the delayed hospital project, Health Department boss David Russell-Weisz launched an extraordinary broadside at John Holland, labelling them "unreliable".
"Amongst all the commentary about PCH not being open we must not forget why it's still not open," he said.
"It is not open because of an unreliable builder with a woeful track record of meeting dates and milestones. So much so the State has had to take control of certain remediation activities.
"A builder who oversaw the plumbing installation, flushing, chlorination of a potable water system that is still being remediated.
"To put it simply there is no doubt we are late because the builder didn't complete the job."
Dr Russell-Weisz also revealed that since taking practical completion, the State Government had spent $1.5 million on remediating issues at the hospital, in addition to the lead contamination issue.
Outside the inquiry, Dr Russell-Weisz said it was now impossible in his view to open the hospital this year, and would not provide a date for opening in 2018.
The inquiry comes ahead of what is likely to be a protracted battle between the two parties over who was responsible for various flaws in the hospital, including the water contamination.
John Holland declined to comment.
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