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Construction company blames school district for yearlong delay

When a construction project gets delayed significantly, blame can fly in all directions. The owner and developer may blame the construction company. In turn, the contractor may say the developer caused the delays.

The fact is, both sides can incur huge financial costs when a project takes longer than planned. A construction company from outside of Florida is suing the school district that hired it to build an addition to a local high school. The project was delayed by nearly a year by “bad-faith tactics” on the district’s part, according to the contractor, Taisei Construction Company.

Taisei contracted with the school district in 2011 to build a media arts center, as well as a math and social studies building, for the school. Then in April 2013, the company asked the district for $1.6 million for changes the district made to the project.

The district rejected the additional funds, and Taisei sued in June 2013. Besides the mid-course changes, Taisei blames incomplete plans, impractical design elements and uncoordinated sections of the plan for slowing down construction. Sometimes, contractors would have to tear down sections of the building and start over. The plans were “at best defective,” according to a Taisei executive.

In response, the school district says that Taisei has no legal claim, and that it acted appropriately. It also accuses of Taisei of wrongdoing, and says that the construction company’s “unclean hands” means it cannot recover in court, even if the district did violate the contract.

Taisei is asking for $3.5 million in its lawsuit.

Source: Palo Alto Weekly, “Construction firm threatens to take Palo Alto school district to trial,” Elena Kadvany, Oct. 28, 2014

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