Nova Scotia

Mould issues in Seaport market reno cost construction company $21K

A plan to use wood recycled from Hurricane Juan's aftermath in the construction of the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market backfired, leaving the construction company with a bill of more than $21,000.

Salvaged wood from Hurricane Juan aftermath turned mouldy, forced costly reno to avoid health risk

When the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market was being built in 2010, architects specified builders use recycled wood to help meet environmental and sustainability targets. (Andrew Vaughn/The Canadian Press)

A plan to use wood recycled from Hurricane Juan's aftermath in the construction of the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market backfired, leaving the construction company with a bill of more than $21,000.

When the market was being built in 2010, it was subject to stringent environmental and sustainability targets. Architects specified that the builders use recycled wood to help meet those targets.

RCS Construction, which had the contract, bought wood from Old Growth Timber Incorporated. The company had salvaged and stored logs that had been felled by Hurricane Juan in 2003.

Health hazard

The logs were cut into timbers, kiln-dried and delivered to the market site.

But problems developed shortly after the wood was used.

"Within about three weeks of the Claimant's wood being installed, mould began to show up in places," adjudicator Eric Slone wrote in his court decision.

"It got quickly and progressively worse, to the point that it was considered a health hazard."

The wood was removed and replaced.

Ordered to pay

Once RCS learned of the mould problem it refused to pay the balance of what it owed Old Growth Timber. That dispute landed in Small Claims Court.

At the hearing, the Juan wood was described as "spalted", where fungi or moulds can create interesting wood grain patterns. The court heard spalted wood has to be properly stored and sealed to avoid having it exposed to too much moisture, which can cause problem mould to develop.

Slone found RCS failed to take proper precautions and ordered the company to pay the balance it owed to Old Growth, plus court costs and interest.