sThe city of Spokane Valley, which has spent the last year addressing the cracking and sinking of the exterior wall of its city hall, has sued the companies who built the building, accusing them of negligence and breaching their contract.
Spokane Valley City Hall, a $14 million project that opened in 2017, was designed to spur economic development in the area and eventually be the heart of a municipal center that includes a new library across the street and an expanded Balfour Park.
According to the lawsuit the city filed Tuesday, the city is seeking damages for the cost to investigate issues, hire consultants and pay attorneys fees. The city is accusing the companies that built and inspected the building of breaching their contracts and warranties and of negligence.
The facility was built by Meridian Construction and included additional work by Architects West, Allwest Testing & Engineering, and Eight31 Consulting, all of which are named in the lawsuit.
Mark D’Agostino, president of Meridian Construction, did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday afternoon.
City staff noticed damages to the curved outer wall of City Council chambers soon after moving in, according to the lawsuit.
The city hired a consultant to investigate the damage and found that the soil underneath the foundation for the curved wall hadn’t been properly compacted and that the wall was sinking. The rest of the building is under a separate foundation that has not had issues.
A contractor has since installed 10 micro-piles to stabilize the curved wall, and it has stopped sinking.
In addition to the settling beneath the building, a contractor the city hired recently discovered other issues, including improper or missing welding, missing spray-in insulation and materials not installed to manufacturers’ specifications or installed incorrectly.
According to the lawsuit, those issues have led to the cracking in the walls, an uneven floor and windows that aren’t sealed.
The city walled off the damaged section of City Council chambers a few weeks before the entire building closed to the public to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
City Council last fall approved spending $400,000 to repair the damage, on the condition it would be reimbursed by the companies that built the facility. When they approved that funding, city staff told them $500,000 was likely a conservative estimate on how much repairs would cost.
The city is not commenting on the lawsuit to allow it to play out fairly in the courts, city spokesman Jeff Kleingartner said.
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