Manitoba

Winnipeg police HQ consultant denies wrongdoing, sues project builder

An engineering consulting firm 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.

Adjeleian Allen Rubeli Ltd., being sued by city, lays blame on Caspian Projects Inc.

Winnipeg police HQ contractor Adjeleian Allen Rubeli Ltd. denies allegations contained in a city lawsuit, and has filed a counterclaim against the builder, Caspian Projects Inc. (CBC)

An engineering consulting firm 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.

The construction firm, Caspian Projects Inc., is also being sued by the city over the $214-million project, and it has fired back with a suit against the city.

In a statement of defence filed on Monday, engineering firm Adjeleian Allen Rubeli Ltd., known as AAR, says it's not responsible for any loss or damage to the city resulting from the headquarters.

When the city filed its lawsuit in May, Winnipeg chief administrative officer Doug McNeil estimated the cost of dealing with all the deficencies in the building 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.

A deteriorated structural slab and dislodged concrete are compromising the building's structural integrity, it adds.

None of the allegations in any of the suits has been proven in court.

City started work knowing design wasn't complete: AAR

In its statement of defence, AAR says there were no defects or deficiencies in the design work it completed for the project.

It also alleges the city initially contracted Caspian and ordered it to start working on the project, despite knowing the design wasn't yet complete.

"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 city against the firm.

Winnipeg city council approved the purchase and renovation of a former Canada Post warehouse on Graham Avenue in downtown Winnipeg in 2009, with an original budget of $130 million.

The procurement and construction of the police headquarters has been the subject of two external audits and remains under RCMP investigation.

The city alleges it didn't become aware of many of the problems with the project until it was completed.

A city spokesperson said the city wouldn't comment on the matter as it remains before the courts.

A Caspian employee who answered the phone Thursday said the firm declined to comment.

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