Engineering consultant defends claim, sues construction firm over Winnipeg police headquarters allegations

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Winnipeg's new police headquarters (Patrick Villacorta photo)

An engineering consultant being sued by the City of Winnipeg for alleged mistakes in design and construction of the city’s police headquarters denies the allegations, and has launched its own suit against the project’s construction firm, CBC reports.

In a statement of defence filed on July 30, engineering firm Adjeleian Allen Rubeli Ltd. (AAR) says it’s not responsible for any loss or damage to the city resulting from the headquarters.

CBC says that Caspian Projects Inc. is also being sued by the city for problems with the $214-million project, and it responded with its own suit against the city.

Winnipeg chief administrative officer Doug McNeil reportedly estimated in May that the cost of dealing with the building’s deficiencies would be “north of $10 million.”

The city’s statement of claim describes dozens of shortcomings, including water leaks, a broken concrete floor, drainage issues, inadequate air flow, insufficient asbestos abatement, a lack of temperature control and no catwalk on the fifth floor, CBC reported.

The statement of claims also says that a deteriorated structural slab and dislodged concrete are compromising the building’s structural integrity.

The allegations asserted in the suits have not been proven in court.

AAR says in its statement of defence that there were no defects or deficiencies in its design work.

AAR also alleges the city initially contracted Caspian and ordered it to start working on the project, despite knowing the design hadn’t been completed.

“The city commenced the work on the project and continued the work on this basis when it knew or should have known that there was a potential for delays, changes to the work and changes to the overall cost of the project,” AAR alleges.

The firm says Caspian and the city met and agreed on the contract price without AAR’s participation.

AAR is suing Caspian for “complete contribution to and indemnity for any damages” awarded to the suit against the firm, CBC reports.

Winnipeg’s city council initially approved the project in 2009, with a $130 million budget.

However, the project’s procurement and construction have been mired in controversy, including two external audits and a still-continuing RCMP investigation.

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