Wednesday, 5th December, 2018
By Callum Marshall
Council owes us money: Builder
City Council claims the development of a transfer station at the rubbish tip has been complicated by the original builder’s “substantial breaches” of contract, but this is in dispute and headed for the courts.
General Manager James Roncon said a new builder had been found and would finish the job.
“We had a contractor engaged but unfortunately that work wasn’t going the way it needed to and the milestones that needed to be hit hadn’t been hit,” he said last week.
“So we needed to make some changes in terms of being able to get someone that could get that project finished.
“We terminated the contract with the original builder and we’ve engaged another local, a guy that was doing a lot of the work as a sub-contractor, to finish the job.”
Mr Roncon said that no money had been lost in regards to payments during the termination of the contract and the process of finding a new builder.
“Nothing in terms of payments. This was really about the time and delivery scenario more than anything else,” he said.
“In terms of the budget, the existing budget is still there and it’s still within an expendable day. It’ll just be redirected to the new builder.
“There hasn’t realistically been an interest in any litigation that we’ve embarked on at this point.
“It was really just a termination of contract and just making sure that we could find someone to finish the job.
“Thankfully, we got onto this nice and early and realised where we needed to be in terms of delivering. So we’ve managed it very well.”
He hoped work on the transfer station would be finalised by late January or mid-February.
He would not say how the contractor had allegedly breached the contract because it was confidential.
But council’s claims have been rejected by the originally contracted company, CBC Project Management Group.
A company spokesman said yesterday they’d met all the requirements of the contract and claimed errors on site were the responsibility of council, and not them.
“The contract that we signed with the council, which was totally in accordance with the request for tender documents, was to design and construct a transfer station at the existing Broken Hill tip site,” said the spokesman.
“We have completely (satisfied that contract.)”
He said the problem between themselves and council was over the installation of trucks on site.
“One of the things that council excluded from the contract, and not mentioned anywhere in the tender documents on specifications, was the type of truck that was to be installed at the site.
“When we won the tender we went to the initial start-up meetings and specifically said to them, with minutes recording this, ‘did they want us to concern ourselves with the trucks?’
“They said, ‘no we’ve already ordered the trucks, you just have to build the shed to the specifications we gave you’, which is what we did.
“Those specifications were very detailed ones.
“But when they decided to come down and test the trucks, the ones they’d bought didn’t fit.
“Now we had no involvement with the trucks. We didn’t even know what trucks they were getting.
“So we don’t know whether they changed the trucks or whether they didn’t measure them properly in the first place, but the original design they gave us had very clear specifications and dimensions on it. So we built to those dimensions as we’re entitled to.
“They didn’t actually give us any truck specifications until we built the upper slab. We’d already designed and fabricated the entire steel structure.
“They accepted the steel structure, the dimensions and everything we gave them until the day they decided to test the trucks and they didn’t fit.
“We said that we could fix it but there’d be a cost. It wasn’t going to be a huge amount but there would be one. So we basically extended the top rafters.”
The spokesman for CBC Project Management Group said that when they requested payment for it, council refused.
“The company is in the red and that comes about because (of the) built concrete slab on top,” he said.
“We built the zig-zag wall that supports the top slab, and below that is where the trucks will be going.
“It’s perfect, it was signed off by council as acceptable and meeting all the engineering criteria. It was done by the (sub-contractor) GTE Earthworks and it, in all respects, met their requirements.
“However, when we submitted their claim for that part of the work which costs $166,000, they refused to pay.”
The company has said they’ll be bringing a litigation case against council for money they claim is owed to them.
“We’ve started litigation already, but it won’t be going to court this year. It’ll be in the next six months,” said the spokesman.
“If GTE, the main sub-contractor on the project, is the company that’s still working for council, then it’s quite possible they may have paid them already.
“But council should’ve paid us and we should’ve paid GTE because the work being completed had nothing to do with whether the trucks fitted or didn’t fit. It’s a completely separate issue.
“The lawsuit will cost more money than the original invoicing but we have to fight to get the money back.
“It’s not just that invoice, it’s the other work as well which was involved under the contract. There’s a clause in it which says that we’re entitled to certain recompense, which they’ve refused as well.”