The massive new Hospital Acute Services Building at Hagley Park in Christchurch is beset by fresh delays fixing 8000 fire protection defects.
The half-billion-dollar, 3000-room hospital is two years behind schedule after a huge number of variations to the original contract.
Ministry of Health (MoH) spokesperson Michelle Arrowsmith said in a statement the delays related to "passive fire remediation and completing the testing and documentation process".
"Approximately 8000 minor passive fire protection defects were found as part of the quality assurance process, the vast majority of which are now fixed."
The hospital's plumbing caused major problems, and subcontractors were forced to go back and redo substandard work.
The budget had increased "slightly", partly to pay for two extra wards and a link bridge, the MoH said.
It expected to hand the block over to Canterbury DHB in the first half of this year, once checks showed it was completely up to code.
Those checks included clinical staff and engineering and maintenance specialists who had also been helping install medical equipment for six months, the ministry said.
The building will be immediately operating at capacity once it opens.