Construction company sues Vancouver School Board for $10.9 million

BIV's lawsuit of the week

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Bouygues Building Canada Inc. is suing the Vancouver School Board for $10.9 million in allegedly unpaid construction bills for delays and other costs after the company discovered contaminated soil while working on the renewal of Kitsilano Secondary School.

Bouygues, part of the France-based Bouygues Group, filed a notice of civil claim in BC Supreme Court on March 6, naming the Board of Education of School District No. 39 (Vancouver) as a defendant. According to the claim, the company and the board struck a $54 million deal in August 2013 for the demolition of an existing structure and the construction of a new school for the “Kitsilano Secondary School Renewal Project.”

The project was set to complete in June 2017, but the contract provided for possible changes and delays caused by either party. However Bouygues claims the project was disrupted by the discovery of contaminated soil and fill on the lands, costing millions to remove and delaying the project by several months, including a $17,000 charge to relocate soil containing barium.

Meanwhile, the school board allegedly “improperly refused or rejected” Bouygues’ requests for an extension of 56 weeks on the contract, and millions more for delay costs. In addition, the defendant allegedly delayed the project when it “refused to pay the undisputed value of the work performed as a result of the changes [and] refused to issue change order” while declining “to grant reasonable extensions,” the claim states.

When the project was completed in August 2018, Bouygues claims it filed builders liens against the property but the school board has allegedly “refused or neglected” to pay. The company seeks declaratory relief that it’s entitled to a lien in the amout of $10,936,988 against the lands and the improvement and damages for breach of contract.

The allegations have not been tested or proven in court and the Vancouver School Board had not filed a response by press time.