November 7, 2012
Five face charges after botched Calgary parkade project
A Calgary-based concrete restoration contractor has been charged by the City of Calgary under the provincial building code for undertaking a parkade renovation project without permits, which threatened to collapse the whole structure.
“We are extremely disappointed that such a routine renovation went so wrong,” said Kevin Griffiths, manager of building regulations and chief building official for the City of Calgary.
“From the start, public safety was disregarded and that is unacceptable. The city will continue to take legal action where unsafe conditions exist.”
Seven charges were laid under the Safety Codes Act of Alberta.
Four companies and the owner of Rocky Mountain Court, a 30-storey condominium building in downtown Calgary, have been named in the case.
The charges against Rocky Mountain Court, Maverick Condominium Property Management, Williams Engineering, Durwest Construction Systems and Champion Concrete Cutting were in relation to a concrete restoration or water proofing job carried out on the parkade in May 2011.
The work involved the removal of a membrane and a three inch concrete topping.
The contractor used the saw cut method and cut too deep into the parking deck slabs.
The city claims the project created an unsafe condition, by compromising the structural integrity of the level two parkade floor.
For this reason, the city issued an order to cease occupancy to Rocky Mountain Court on July 11.
The subsequent investigation into conditions on the project resulted in seven businesses being vacated from the main floor, as a precautionary measure to protect public safety. Tenants with cars on parkade levels 1, 2 and 3 were also ordered to vacate the building within hours of receiving the order.
In addition, the contractor placed public safety at high risk by failing to notify the owners, the businesses, the public and the authorities about the faulty construction work.
As a result, the city laid the following charges:
causing damage to the second floor of the parkade of Rocky Mountain Court during renovations;
failure to notify the businesses, employees and the public beneath the compromised parkade;
failure to notify the authorities;
failure to ensure the structure which was damaged was properly supported underneath to prevent collapse;
failure to obtain the proper permits prior to commencing work (2);
failure to prevent the public from accessing the parkade and businesses after structural damaged occurred.
The condominium owners were also charged with two additional infractions, namely failure to ensure all permits required for work being carried out were obtained and failure to give notice to the authorities on the date the work was carried out.
The city’s investigation of conditions at the condo began after being contacted by a concerned citizen. Telepoles were installed on the second floor of the parkade, the main floor and the basement to shore up the building down to its foundation. Floors four and above were not and are still not affected by this incident.
An engineer declared the elevator, lobby and exit corridor safe, which allowed residents to remain in their homes.
Maverick Management hired general contractor Ledcor and Adem Engineering to undertake the remedial work on the parkade structure.
Maverick, which spent more than $3 million for the repairs, is suing Durwest Construction Systems and Williams Engineering Canada Inc.
The contractor claims they followed the plan for the renovation as per the original engineer’s instructions and specifications.
The owners of about eight condemned family businesses on the main floor have launched a separate suit against the condo board who hired the companies.
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