Not only could this be a huge financial hit for condo owners (in legal fees alone) but could also set a major precedent in condo culture in Calgary and across Canada. As Realtors we advise our clients to be involdved in the building thye own in, if board members are going to be founf liable in these types of lawsuits who is going to want to serve on a condo board anymore? ~CR
Via: The Calgary Herald
Downtown Calgary condo owners already embroiled in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit over shoddy and dangerous repair work say being on the receiving end of the city’s major safety codes violations case is a surprise.
Rocky Mountain Court condo owners were served Tuesday night, hours after the city announced five companies have been charged under the Safety Codes Act of Alberta.
In June 2011, the city discovered what it deemed to be negligent resurfacing repairs to the downtown parkade at 221 6th Ave. S.E. that jeopardized public safety.
No permits had been obtained for the construction work, the city said.
Condo board president Adam Zakreski said condo owners were served Tuesday night for lack of permits and leaving the building open when it was in an unsafe condition.
“We’re the victims here. We trusted our consultants and our consultants failed us,” said Zakreski.
“I think this is a situation where they have to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. I hope that once we tell them our story we will be exonerated,” he said.
City officials say companies must take responsibility for ensuring they maintain safe conditions for workers, visitors and the public.
The city also says building owners are responsible for ensuring contractors have obtained the required permits prior to commencing work.
Zakreski said the case could have sweeping affects on other condo boards around the city.
“If this comes down on the board, good luck anyone of any condo ever getting anyone to serve on the board again. Why would anyone take on that personal responsibility?”
“We’re a group of volunteers, we’re not experts in construction. We hire consultants when we need to take on large projects like this. We took on a large, reputable engineering firm.”
The unsafe conditions prompted the city to order the building vacated, closing shops, restaurants and the parking garage after unpermitted repairs threatened the stability of the downtown condo highrise.
On Tuesday, five companies were charged with seven counts of violating the Alberta Building Code: the condominium owners for Rocky Mountain Court, Maverick Condominium Property Management, Williams Engineering, Durwest Construction Systems and Champion Concrete Cutting.
The condo corporation launched its own $4-million lawsuit Oct. 16 against the contractor and engineer hired to repair the parking areas.
In the lawsuit, the condo owners are seeking $3.7 million from Durwest Construction and Williams Engineering Canada Inc. for repair or replacement of the damaged parkade slabs, as well as shoring costs, and another $300,000 for associated engineering costs.
The condominium corporation said Williams used improper drawings and/or specifications, improper determi
nation of type of parkade slab used, gave improper direction in completing the work, and failed to obtain the proper and required building permit.
It claims Durwest failed to complete the work in accordance with drawings and specifications, failed to follow directions from Williams or failed to warn or advise Williams and the plaintiffs that the cuts being completed were too deep. They also failed to obtain the proper and required building permit from the city.
Both Durwest and Williams have denied all allegations, and sought the claims to be dismissed with costs in statements of defence filed recently.
Durwest said it carried out all the work in reliance and in accordance with the professional engineering advice and expertise provided by Williams. This included respect to information and advice pertaining to the depth of the parkade’s concrete slab, which was provided by Williams to Durwest prior to work commencing.
The contractor denies it was negligent, saying it performed its duties in a good, prudent, workmanlike manner.
The engineer, in its defence, said the losses or damage were not caused or materially contributed to by Williams.
Williams said it was not in a position to control, supervise, warn or direct the actions of Durwest or to prevent the damage from occurring.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
CBC Video from July 2012 talking about the safety concerns:
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