Construction company sues City of Richmond over months of delays at firehall construction project

BIV's lawsuit of the week

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Stuart Olson Construction Ltd. is suing the City of Richmond over months of delays at a firehall construction project that allegedly cost the company more than $900,000 as it waited on design drawings that were changed “numerous” times.

Stuart Olson Construction filed a notice of civil claim in BC Supreme Court on March 6, claiming it inked a deal with the city for construction of a new firehall at 6960 Gilbert Road in March 2016. According to the claim, Hughes Condon Marler Architects (HCMA) “was the architect of record retained by the City for the Project responsible for the overall design and design coordination on behalf of the City”; however, the company is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.

The project, the company claims, was originally set for completion in August 2017.

“Stuart Olson planned and scheduled its work and the work of its subcontractors so as to meet the original agreed upon project schedule,” the claim states. “However, because of acts, errors, omissions and negligence of the City and its consultants, including HCMA … the Projects completion was delayed to July 2018.”

Stuart Olson claims HCMA “provided a late and deficient, error-filled and incomplete Design and requested numerous changes to the Design, well beyond what was reasonable and could have been contemplated and planned for by Stuart Olson.”

The changes and “cascading delays” pushed the project back months, the construction firm claims, and “impacted the economic and efficient scheduling of the work.”

In December 2019, Stuart Olson gave the city a claims package detailing 192 days of delays, seeking damages under the contract. But the city responded in February 2020 that the company was entitled to damages for only 23 days of “compensable” delays. The company claims it suffered damages of “no less than $909,400.45, arising from Stuart Olson’s increased costs due to delay and the extended project duration.”

Meanwhile, several subcontractors have made claims against the company for increased costs and damages arising from the project changes and delays.

“To date, in breach of the Contract, the City has failed to reimburse, hold harmless and indemnify Stuart Olson for any portion of the Subcontractor Claims,” the lawsuit states.

The construction firm seeks $909,700 in damages for breach of contract and negligence. The allegations have not been tested or proven in court and the City of Richmond had not responded to the claim by press time.