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Prince George files civil action against HDR over faulty steel beams

Shannon Moneo
Prince George files civil action against HDR over faulty steel beams
COURTESY OF MIKE LEE, COMMUNICATIONS ADVISER WITH THE CITY OF PRINCE GEORGE — Prince George, B.C.’s new pool is the subject of a lawsuit between the City of Prince George and architecture firm HDR over faulty steel beams.

The City of Prince George has filed a civil claim in B.C. Supreme Court against the U.S.-headquartered multinational architecture firm HDR.

The suit involves the new Canfor Leisure Pool and the Vancouver office of HDR.

The pool opened in mid-November in downtown Prince George, a city of 77,000 residents, three weeks past the forecast launch and costing $39.1 million, roughly $2.9 million more than budgeted for.

The lawsuit hinges on flawed steel beams that were delivered from Calgary and Edmonton.

The City of Prince George would not comment due to the litigation.

An emailed response from HDR stated, “We have nothing to share, as the matter is in dispute.”

HDR has not said whether it’s filed a response and all allegations must still be proven in court.

In the statement of facts, the city alleges the steel components arrived two days late, on Dec. 16, 2020 and were shipped less than a week after being treated with an industrial primer.

The universal primer in question has a 30 day curing period and is also dependent on weather conditions.

Adding to the primer problems, the city alleges the project architect used an outdated print copy of the MPI manual (an architectural painting specification manual by the Master Painters Institute), which called for a single coat of primer.

The current, online MPI manual called for two coats of primer.

As well, the city claims an acrylic primer was used instead of the longer lasting and more durable epoxy primer.

Soon after arriving onsite, the beams began to show signs of rusting.

About 25 per cent of the primed beams were left at the project site, erected and then remediated with the correct epoxy material.

On or about Jan. 14, 2021, the city alleges an HDR representative admitted the use of the universal primer was a mistake on HDR’s part because it used outdated reference materials.

The remaining flawed steel components were then shipped to local fabricating shops where rust was removed and the beams were reprimed with the more suitable epoxy primer.

The city asserts fixing the failed primed beams caused a three-week delay and added a total net cost of about $1.3 million to the project.

The City of Prince George is claiming breach of contract against HDR and seeks general and special damages, costs and other relief.

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