Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Condo's leaky parkade spurs lawsuit

Residents go to court over $1.2-M repair

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Residents in the luxury Edgewater condo complex on Wellington Crescent want  the architect, builder and developers to pay to fix the leaky underground parkade.

PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS ARCHIVES Enlarge Image

Residents in the luxury Edgewater condo complex on Wellington Crescent want the architect, builder and developers to pay to fix the leaky underground parkade. Photo Store

Residents of a four-year-old luxury condominium complex on Wellington Crescent are in a protracted court battle with the building's architect, developers and builder over more than a million dollars worth of repairs required to fix a leaky underground parkade.

A lot is at stake for the residents in the nearly two-year-old dispute, which is scheduled to resume later this month in Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench.

Because the Edgewater is only four years old, the condo owners' association -- Winnipeg Condominium Corporation No. 613 -- hasn't been able to build up a contingency fund big enough to fully cover the estimated $1.2-million repair bill, Frances Horch, a member of the association's board of directors, said in an interview.

That means the building's 52 condo owners will have to make up the shortfall if the court doesn't agree with the association's position that the cost of the repairs, which are already underway, should be borne by the ones who designed and built the building and parkade.

"It's a building defect," Horch said. "But they (the defendants) are taking the position that it was built to the proper specifications."

Horch wouldn't speculate on how much each condo owner might be forced to pay, saying that hasn't been determined.

In a statement of claim filed in October 2011, the condo association is seeking unspecified special and general damages, interest, costs and whatever other relief the court deems appropriate.

Named as defendants in the lawsuit are project architect Raymond S.C. Wan and Raymond S.C. Wan Architect Inc., builder Concord Projects Ltd. and developers Dynasty Development of Canada Ltd., Dynasty Land Corp., The Dynasty Group and Edgewater GP Ltd.

In the lawsuit, the association alleges waterproofing membranes weren't installed on the first level of the parkade, allowing water and de-icing salts to leach through the floor and damage residents' vehicles on the lower level.

A portion of the lower level of the parkade extends out past the front of the building, and a surface parking lot was built on top of that. The association claims an exterior waterproofing membrane was improperly installed on the parking lot, allowing water to seep in through the ceiling and pool on the floor of the lower level, "causing accelerated structural deterioration and other problems."

Horch and two other building residents -- Marc Kipnes and Marilyn Trepel -- said they paid top dollar for the luxury condos, and it's very upsetting to be facing these kinds of problems.

"People thought, 'It's a new building -- no assessement for 15 years,'" Treppel said. "Wrong!"

"I think it's absolutely disgusting that nobody -- the developer, the architect, the builder -- nobody wants to take responsibity," said Kipnes, who co-owns Karma Developments, another local condominium development firm.

The leaky parkade is one of a number of defects and deficiencies cited in the statement of claim.

Others include missing styrofoam insulation in portions of the roof and walls, improperly installed air conditioners in the parkade and stairwell and improper ventilation in the stairwell and mechanical rooms.

In statements of defence filed with the court, the defendants deny there are any defects or deficiencies in the building, and if the court rules there are, they each say the other defendants were to blame and should be the ones who pay for the damage.

The architect denies in its statement of defence any responsibility for the missing membrane on the parkade floor. It claims the membrane was deleted "on the express instruction of others... as a cost-saving measure." It also denies the lack of a waterproofing membrane poses a substantial danger to the health or safety of the building's residents.

The next hearing in the case is set for Sept. 30, when the court is scheduled to hear an application by Concord Projects to dismiss the association's amended statement of claim.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 14, 2013 B14

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