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Delays in construction of Richmond facility spark multiple lawsuits

A litany of lawsuits and counter-suits have been filed in B.C. Supreme Court to figure out who’s to blame for the almost two-year delay in the construction of the Minoru Centre for Active Living.
minoru centre
The Minoru Centre for Active Living, with a seniors centre and aquatic centre, opened in March 2019.

A litany of lawsuits and counter-suits have been filed in B.C. Supreme Court to figure out who’s to blame for the almost two-year delay in the construction of the Minoru Centre for Active Living.

Construction manager Stuart Olson launched a civil suit against the City of Richmond recently – which the city said it will respond to soon – claiming the city caused the delays and, furthermore, caused several subcontractors to sue Stuart Olson.

In its lawsuit against the city, Stuart Olson is demanding $7.04 million as well as any claims against it from subcontractors, which could be in excess of $3 million.

Subcontractors Flynn Canada, PML Professional Mechanical and Robertson Construction have all filed claims against Stuart Olson, asking for extra payment because of construction delays.

However, Stuart Olson has turned around and filed a “third party notice” against the City of Richmond in all three cases, placing the blame on the city.

While the completion date was cited in the lawsuits as November 2017, the city originally announced the centre would open around June 2017.

The seniors centre portion opened in March 2019, but the fitness and aquatic centres remained closed after a crack was found in one of the pools.

The claims made by PML and Robertson are very similar, saying the extended construction time added to their costs.

They both cite late drawings, not being able to get on site to get work done, “extraordinary” numbers of changes and interruptions causing “stop and start” work.

The Robertson lawsuit also claims workers, at some point, had to work in standing water.

PML, a plumbing company, claims it was delayed in its work because the building construction was late.

After the work was completed, Flynn demanded an extra $1.74 million from Stuart Olson, largely for unpaid work and extra costs because of delays in construction.

Stuart Olson responded to the claim saying Flynn breached its contract, didn’t keep up with the project schedule and, furthermore, has been paid “all amounts due.”

The city’s responses to all three third-party notices are identical, with claims Stuart Olson failed to manage the project schedule and its bidding process.

The city further alleges Stuart Olson didn’t give timely advice in regards to risk assessment, engineering or timely input about the design.

The city also claims Stuart Olson failed to give advice on materials, labour and alternative designs. (One of Stuart Olson’s grievances against the city is that the design work was delayed by almost two years, finally completed in April 2017.)

Stuart Olson also claims the tendering process was delayed by the city, which meant they had to split the tenders into nine packages – from the original three – “due to the delayed issuance of the design deliverables.”

This delayed the tendering by more than two years, originally set for May 2016, but it was actually completed by October 2018.

In addition to Flynn demanding $1.74 million, Robertson is claiming $1.35 million extra payment from Stuart Olson because of the extended construction time.

None of the claims in any of these lawsuits have been proven in court.



June 2015: Design work was scheduled to be completed

November 2015: Stuart Olson enters construction management contract with City of Richmond

April 25, 2016: PML starts work on plumbing and mechanical

Oct. 24, 2016: Robertson Construction enters subcontract with Stuart Olson for external framing, drywall and ceiling work for $2.34 million

Dec. 23, 2016: Robertson work start date (to be completed by Nov. 9, 2017)

April 2017: design work completed

April 12, 2017: Stuart Olson subcontracts Flynn Canada to do roofing

Nov. 17, 2017: Original project completion date (as cited in lawsuits)

July 2018: Job hiring fair held for Minoru Centre for Active Living

Nov. 1, 2018: PML completed plumbing and mechanical work – 349 calendar days later than expected

Jan. 21, 2019: Robertson completes its contract - 438 days later than anticipated

Feb. 13, 2019: Roofing completion certificate issued

February 2019: Crack in lap pool found

March 2019: Seniors centre opens (aquatic and fitness centres remain close)

Jan. 1, 2020: Fitness centre opens

Feb. 10, 2020: Stuart Olson files lawsuit against city asking for $7.04 million as well as anything claimed against them by subcontractors