Summit Brooke sues District over Visitor Centre

construction of the Tumbler Ridge visitor information centreaTrent Ernst, Editor

Summit Brooke is suing the District of Tumbler Ridge for $1.2-million.

The Plaintiff, Summit Brooke Construction Ltd. (“SBC”), is a company duly incorporated pursuant to the laws of British Columbia, with an address for delivery at 2400 – 200 Granville Street, Vancouver, British Columbia.

According to the case documents, filed in the Provincial Supreme Court, Summit Brooke responded to an RFP for the Construction of the Tumbler Ridge Visitor Centre in November of 2013, quoting $1,447,154.00 to complete the project as per the scope of work. But after bidding on the project, “The District then wanted to expand the scope of work to include a museum and other related components to the project,” says the documents. “Summit Brook prepared conceptual drawings for the new facility and estimated the cost to complete the project based on the expanded scope of work would be approximately $2,400,000.00. The District decided against expanding the project to include a museum.”

In April of 2014, Summit Brook entered into a construction contract with the District based on the original RFP scope of work.

The District then requested Summit Brooke to modify the layout of the project such that the museum could be added at a later date. “The work required to modify the design included, but was not limited to, moving the Visitor Centre building back approximately 60-70 meters and increasing the size of the lot, which resulted in additional excavation, roadways, parking stalls and road preparation works, additional sewer, water and electrical work, etc.”

According to Summit Brooke, “at all material times the parties expressly and/or impliedly agreed that the additional scope of work and costs associated with modifying the design and construction of the project in order to accommodate a future museum would be determined at a later date once the surveying work and other details were available. The District agreed to pay SBC the contract price for the RFP scope of work and all extras above and beyond the RFP work for labour and materials supplied to modify the design and construct the building to accommodate future development (the “Contract”).”

This, says the document, changed the scope of the work required. “At all material times, the District knew or ought to have reasonably known that the expansion of the scope of work and the reduced construction schedule would substantially increase the cost to complete the Project.”

This additional work included: “Additional site clearing and grubbing of the second lot; Additional site grading to back lot; Disposal of single lot overburden and trees from the site, instead of disposal of two lots of fill and final grading of owner supplied rear lot; Extending underground services to suite revised location; Addition of five parking stalls and road access with additional drainage requirements; Upgrade pipe sizes to achieve civil design requirements; Revise finishing details to suit new log construction, including but not limited to slip joint walls, windows, stairs, pipework, etc.; Increase mechanical room floor area to suit equipment; Increase roof overhangs to suit log structure; Upgrade electrical design; and Additional miscellaneous expenses associated with a shorter construction schedule, winter works, equipment rental costs, material and labour suppliers, etc.”

According to Summit Brooke, these extras above and beyond the Contract were “specifically requested by the District, and expressly and/or impliedly approved and accepted by the District.”

Again, according to the court documents, the District requested that the parties maintain an informal working relationship and “demanded that the parties proceed without strict conformance with the terms of the contract. The parties therefore proceed under this informal manner in which the parties dealt with change orders and change directives complied with the terms of the Contract.”

As part of this, Summit Brooke maintains that the District “made representations” that they would be paid for the additional work. “Summit Brooke reasonably relied on those representations and was therefore induced into performing the additional work.”

As a result of this additional work, as well as other factors, “included but not limited to failure to provided timely decisions on design and selection of materials, the project was delayed causing additional costs, including additional project management related and administrative costs, increased costs due to working in weather conditions, unavailability of local trades, etc.” maintains Summit Brooke.

Summit Brooke is taking the District for unpaid invoices owing to the company totaling $188,083.91. In addition, they were close to $1.1-million in approved extras. “There remains due and owing to SBC for work performed and materials supplied in the sum of $1,275,702.52.”

As the case is currently active, the District is not commenting on it.