Miami Dade College, the owner of a $22.5-million parking-garage project that partially collapsed in October 2012, filed on Oct. 8 a lawsuit against the general contractor, its insurer and six subcontractors. Alleging breach of contract, the suit claims that Ajax Building Corp., Liberty Mutual Insurance and the other firms failed to "undertake to correct or complete the project or to compensate MDC."
While under construction, a quarter of the five-story, 520,000-sq-ft structure suffered a progressive collapse on Oct. 10, 2012, killing four workers. The rest of the garage remained standing.
In its complaint, MDC claims the collapse "rendered the remaining portion … unsafe, unusable and not reparable."
The school argues that demolishing and rebuilding the entire project would be as cost-effective as "attempting to restore the affected portions … to contractual tolerance." Spokesman Juan Mendieta says MDC is seeking a "comprehensive solution."
In a statement to ENR, Ajax President William Byrne countered, saying the firm "provided a reasonable and safe solution to rebuild the garage that was consistent with the builder's risk insurer's expert report."
This past April, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued citations against Ajax and four other firms—Coreslab Structures and its subsidiary Solar Erectors; Florida Lemark Corp.; and MEP Structural Engineering and Inspections—for improper column erection and failing to provide proper inspections. OSHA's proposed penalties totaled more than $38,000. All the firms, except Florida Lemark, settled with OSHA and accepted the fines. Florida Lemark is contesting its penalty, says OSHA.
MDC also is suing both M.A.R. Contracting and Sims Crane & Equipment Co. Also on Oct. 8, KONE Inc. sued Ajax for not paying the elevator firm for its project work and Liberty Mutual for breaching the payment bond.