Ohio State University, Columbus, violated state statutes governing a $1-billion campus hospital project that required it to mandate a payment bond for site subcontractors, according to a lawsuit filed on Nov. 23 in the Ohio Supreme Court by the American Subcontractors Association and its local chapter. The trade group for sureties joined in the suit.
The complaint contends OSU’s decision not to require the project’s construction managers, Turner Construction and Bovis Lend Lease, to post the bond places the subs on the project, called ProjectONE, at financial risk, since they are required to waive their mechanic’s lien rights. “Construction subcontractors will provide hundreds of millions of dollars of credit on ProjectONE,” says Timmy McLaughlin, president of Alexandria, Va.-based ASA. “Public owners should support, not block, vital subcontractor payment protections that reduce financial uncertainty and the costs of construction.”
The project, an expansion of the university’s medical center, was set to generate up to 5,000 construction jobs by its estimated completion date in 2014. It was designated an OSU “Construction Reform Demonstration Project,” one of three at public colleges and universities in the state authorized to use alternative project delivery approaches.
Neither an attorney for OSU nor a spokesperson for its medical center could be reached by ENR at press time, but according to ASA’s complaint, “the university determined that it did not have to require a payment bond” on the guaranteed-maximum-price project. The project includes $925 million in state funding. At the 2009 unveiling of its design, the expansion was touted as “one of the largest job-generating initiatives in Ohio’s history.”
Separately, a state claims court judge on Dec. 6 dismissed a 2009 suit against OSU by Karlsburger Architecture Inc., Columbus, seeking $1.3 million in design fees after it was terminated by the university. The firm was replaced in its role on the project by HOK, the master planner, says a published report.