Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Terminal's builder faces suit

Structural steel company sues EllisDon for $7.3 million

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THE firm that oversaw the construction of the new Richardson International Airport terminal finds itself caught in another legal dispute over the project.

EllisDon Corp. is being sued for almost $7.3 million by a Toronto-area firm that put up the structural steel.

Azimuth Three Enterprises, of Brampton, Ont., alleges contract breaches by EllisDon on the troubled project resulted in losses, damages and loss of profit totalling $7,264,700.

The allegations have not been proven in court. A statement of defence has not been filed, and court hearings on the dispute have not been set.

The new airport terminal was designed by internationally renowned architect Pelli Clarke and opened in late October 2011 -- almost two years behind schedule.

The $585-million terminal was beset by several delays associated with changes in design plans and remedial work to address unusual groundwater issues that compromised worker safety.

The courts upheld a dispute-resolution process that found the Winnipeg Airports Authority (WAA) had to pay EllisDon several million dollars for the groundwater work. Later, EllisDon sued the WAA for an additional $10.8 million because of design changes to the new terminal.

Azimuth won the bid to build and erect the structural steel frame for the new terminal for a price of $22 million.

The Azimuth documents state its lawsuit does not involve delays and additional costs as a result of the groundwater issue, explaining those costs will be determined through the contract's dispute-resolution process.

However, Azimuth said changes made to the project after it signed a contract with EllisDon and other delays pushed back the completion of its work on the terminal by more than 16 months.

In documents filed in Court of Queen's Bench, Azimuth said the delays and design changes resulted in the firm incurring, "additional costs, damages and expenses including... additional labour and supervisory costs, premium, shift and overtime costs, extended site overhead costs, storage costs, equipment, supplies and material costs, and loss of profits."

Azimuth alleges design changes it was presented with differed substantially from the changes it agreed to in discussions with EllisDon.

Azimuth alleges EllisDon breached its contract by failing to provide "clear, logical, unambiguous, co-ordinated and complete architectural and structural design drawings... timely solutions to technical design issues" and reasonable and timely access to the site.

In addition to the Azimuth suit, EllisDon has been sued for more than $1.1 million by three others subcontractors on the airport terminal project.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 24, 2013 B5

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