Building defects exceed $10 million, city CAO alleges
Police HQ lawsuit signals change in 'legal strategy,'
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/05/2018 (1769 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The City of Winnipeg has filed a statement of claim to launch a joint lawsuit alleging negligence by the construction and engineering firms responsible for building the downtown police headquarters — a project with more than $10 million in alleged deficiencies, according to the city’s chief administrative officer.
The move comes after the city attempted to begin arbitration last week with Winnipeg-based builder Caspian Projects Inc. and Ottawa-based designer Adjeleian Allen Rubeli Limited (AAR), but got stonewalled by the latter party.
“AAR has indicated that they don’t want to go to joint arbitration, which is our preference. And so, our legal strategy is changing,” CAO Doug McNeil said. “In order to bring everyone into the same room, we issued a statement of claim (Wednesday) to litigate, so that we can get everybody in the same room.”
Caspian said it wanted to hear more details about the arbitration process, McNeil said, but the city opted to take both parties to court.
The array of issues with the police headquarters (245 Smith St.) outlined in the city’s statement of claim ranges from water leakage to concrete deterioration. The city also cited faulty drainage, missing sewage pit and pump upgrades, air flow that’s too high or too low in different rooms, lack of adequate temperature control, a missing catwalk on the fifth floor, missing light switches, wiring gone awry and delays in emergency lighting activation resulting in blackouts.
Among the gravest problems alleged by the city are structural issues with the headquarters’ main floor, which may require police to move and work elsewhere while repairs are done.
“We are looking at whether or not that work can be done without major disruption to the occupant, but we don’t know yet,” McNeil said. “Most, if not all, the deficiencies that we’re listing now are things that showed up after we took possession of that building — things that should have been done during construction, but we were unaware of.”
The city CAO said he wasn’t sure who gave the go-ahead to sign off on the building’s completion after construction.
He confirmed the deficiencies found by city staff are worth “north of $10 million.” There was no dollar figure laid out in the statement of claim.
Both Caspian and AAR signed on with the city in 2011 to refurbish the old Canada Post building into the new police headquarters. The $210-million project was completed two years late, and about $75 million over budget.
Neither Caspian nor AAR responded to requests Wednesday for comment about the pending lawsuit.
Police moved into their new headquarters in December 2015, and the city has fixed some “minor” inconveniences in the building since then, McNeil said. He couldn’t confirm how many repairs were done nor the value of said fixes.
In its statement of claim, the City of Winnipeg alleges Caspian and AAR were negligent in their roles, according to agreed-upon contracts. (None of the claims have been proven in court.)
“As a consequence of the breach of contract and/or negligence of Caspian and/or AAR, the city has incurred significant expenses to repair and/or replace the deficiencies… and the damage caused to the property as a result of those deficiencies,” the city said in its statement of claim.
“Caspian and/or AAR are accordingly liable to the city for damages for breach of contract and/or negligence in amounts to be provided at trial.”
Updated on Wednesday, May 16, 2018 8:28 PM CDT: Updates headline