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Mackenzie fire hall dispute lands in court

Subcontractor accused of shoddy workmanship seeking nearly $192,000
A concept drawing of the new Mackenzie fire hall.

A conflict with a subcontractor brought in to install cladding on the new fire hall in Mackenzie has landed in court.

In March, Terotech Solutions Inc.filed a notice of claim in B.C. Supreme Court seeking more than $191,839.30, alleging the project's main contractor, Southwest Design and Construction Ltd., caused Terotech to "incur extra and excessive costs to complete the work contemplated under the contract."

In a response filed May 19, Southwest is accusing Terotech of underestimating the cost of the work "as a result of its own acts or omissions, including without limitation its failure to use accurate measurements" and further alleges Terotech failed to perform the work in a "competent, professional and workman-like manner."

Southwest goes on to claim Terotech purchased and supplied horizontal rather than vertical cladding, failed to provide enough workers to complete the job on time and failed to provide documentation, including shop drawings and cut lists.

Deficiencies in the work, according to Southwest, included improperly installed insulation, unlevel strapping along the walls, steel panel siding that was not pre-drilled before installation, inconsistent bolt patterns and elevations, multiple sheets of cladding cut too short and rendered unusable or with double screw holes due to the unlevel strapping, cladding that could not be used due to poor appearance and incorrectly installed or extensively damaged flashing that had to be replaced.

Despite the demand, Terotech has "failed or refused" to fix the deficient work, Southwest alleges and goes on to say Southwest incurred special damages of at least $130,003.30 to date dealing with the alleged damage and completing the unfinished work.

Southwest says it may also become liable for the cost, damage and expense incurred by the District of Mackenzie as a result of the alleged breaches.

Terotech had filed a builders lien in March 2022 for the $191,839.30 but, according to Southwest, it was removed in July 2022 when Southwest posted a security in the form of cash for the amount.

Terotech also alleges Southwest received "certain sums of money" from the District of Mackenzie and that Southwest subsequently "appropriated or converted all or part of the sums received" to unauthorized uses. Southwest denies the allegation and has also filed a counterclaim against Terotech seeking, in part, special damages amounting to the $131,003.30.

The District of Mackenzie is listed as a defendant in Terotech's notice of claim but the dispute appears largely to be between Terotech and Southwest. None of the allegations have been tested in court and the District of Mackenzie has not filed a response.

The $6.5-million project has run into lengthy delays since a ground-breaking ceremony was held in October 2020. Expected at one point to be substantially completed a year ago, the building was listed as "nearing substantial completion" in a May 23 report to council's committee of the whole with no specific date provided.

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