Poor paving, surfacing work sees $3.5M contract suspended

Montreal's inspector-general says the city should consider legal action against a construction company hired to do paving work in Montreal North and Anjou.

SNC-Lavalin has $2.9M contract to supervise Montreal roadwork sites

Montreal's inspector-general says the city should consider legal action against a construction company hired to do paving work in Montreal North and Anjou.

On Tuesday, inspector-general Denis Gallant ordered the interruption of a $3.5-million contract awarded to Laval's Demix Construction. He then presented a report to Montreal city council with his findings.

Gallant said he started asking questions after noticing Demix Construction's initial bid for the job was substantially lower than other companies — $5 per tonne of roadwork materials for surface work and foundation work, compared to the city's estimate of $130 per tonne for the surface work and $214 per tonne for the foundation work.

Noticing the discrepancy, Gallant sent inspectors to the worksite on Sept. 17.

He said the company didn't scrape off the old layer of asphalt before adding a new one. Inspectors took photos showing Demix repaved Monselet and Prieur streets without filling in the large holes and cracks in the roads' foundations.

Gallant said that by doing so, the company did not respect the original contract awarded by the city.

SNC-Lavalin supervised worksite

The City of Montreal hired SNC-Lavalin for the supervision of its roadwork sites for 2015–2017 at a cost of $2.9 million.

The inspector-general says the engineering firm did not hold Demix Construction to the technical specifications of its contract.

"As the worksite's supervisor, SNC-Lavalin let Demix Construction work as though the foundation work didn't exist," Gallant said.

He said he is "seriously questioning the surveillance work of SNC-Lavalin's supervisors" and is recommending the city speak with the firm about the situation.

When reached for comment, both Demix Construction and SNC-Lavalin said they were respecting the terms of their mandates.

In a written statement, Demix said it "respects the specifications and demands of its clients. In this particular project, we diligently followed the instructions given by the supervisor, who was hired by the city to oversee the worksite."

A spokesperson for SNC-Lavalin said the firm is reviewing the inspector's report and added, "When supervising this type of work site, we adhere to the plans and specifications produced by another firm for the City of Montreal."

It added that it's reviewing the Inspector's report and says it will ensure engineers "made the right choices for the prescribed work mentioned in the report."

Demix Contruction's contract included several other streets that haven't been paved yet, including Albert-Hudon and Ste-Gertrude boulevards as well as Hébert and De la Seine avenues.

Mayor Denis Coderre's office says it is currently reviewing the inspector-general's report.

"That position was created to ensure the integrity of public contracts, and it was the power to highlight major irregularities. Today we have another example that it works," Coderre said.

Coderre said he asked the Montreal's city manager and its control officer for explanations regarding the efficiency of external supervisors for Montreal construction worksites.


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