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Company fired from police headquarters project suing city for $7.1 million

Jasper Construction has filed two lawsuits against the City of Guelph
20200617 Guelph Police Headquarters KA
Guelph Police headquarters. Kenneth Armstorng/GuelphToday file photo

The former general contractor heading up the Guelph Police Headquarters expansion and renovation project is suing the City of Guelph for $7.14 million, claiming the city made “hundreds” of changes that resulted in delays before refusing to pay and terminating the contract.

Jasper Construction, which was removed from the project last summer, has two lawsuits against the city – one filed on Dec. 3, 2019, seeking $3.89 million and another on Oct. 2, 2020 for $3.25 million. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

“The city is aware of the two lawsuits filed by Jasper and is working through the dispute resolution process under the contract,” said acting-deputy CAO Stephen O’Brien in an email statement. “The dispute resolution process under the contract contemplates that disputes which cannot be resolved by internal processes are to be resolved by arbitration.

“As I’m sure you can appreciate, confidentiality is mandated within the arbitration process so we are not at liberty to comment substantively on claims or defences.”

An arbitrator is not in place at this time and no dates have been set, he added

“The City of Guelph acted in bad faith in the manner in which it dealt with Jasper and terminated Jasper’s involvement with the project and its ability to continue and complete Jasper’s work,” notes Jasper Construction’s most recent statement of claim. “Jasper was not responsible for any of the delay, nor for any of the changes nor any of the additional costs of delay.”

In the filing, Jasper Construction insists it “relied” upon contract documents, drawings and specifications to perform its work, pointing its finger at “numerous errors, omissions and deficiencies” within those documents for delays and cost increases.

“Subsurface or otherwise concealed physical conditions ... differed materially from those indicated,” it states.

“Throughout the duration of the project, the City of Guelph requested, made and/or compelled Jasper to make hundred of changes to Jasper’s work and the scope of Jasper’s work.”

Those changes and “additional causes of delay” constitute breaches of the contract between the city and Jasper Construction, the statement of claim continues.

The $34 million expansion and renovation of Guelph Police Service headquarters, located at 15 Wyndham St. S., began in April 2016 and was initially expected to be done by spring of 2019.

City officials anticipate it will be completed by the end of this year and is running about $1 million over budget.

Included in the project are two new wings, including a four-storey structure intended for parking and future office space, as well as gutting and rebuilding the inside of the existing facility. The work includes enhanced security features, private interview rooms and a multi-function room for community use.

The project was already running behind schedule in late June when it was paused after city officials announced Jasper Construction was let go due to “serious” contractual deficiencies in the work completed to-date that had been identified but not rectified. 

Soon after, bonding agent Perini Management was announced as the new general contractor. Site work resumed in November.

In a previous agreement, the city consented to pay Jasper Construction a per diem of $3,400 in compensation for delays associated with changes to the scope of work, explains the October statement of claim against the city. 

As a result of non-payment, the statement continues, Jasper filed the statement of claim for action for delay against the city on May 19, 2020.

On June 9, 2020, the city informed Jasper Construction of $410,830 in costs for things such as “offsite evidence materials storage,” “additional consultant services,” “additional site review costs” and more.

“The unwarranted claims were simply without merit and made improperly by the City of Guelph in reaction to the action for delay and in an inappropriate attempt to reduce the damages for delay,” states the court filing.

“The City of Guelph acted in bad faith in the manner in which it dealt with Jasper and terminated Jasper’s involvement with the project and its ability to continue and complete Jasper’s work.”


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Richard Vivian

About the Author: Richard Vivian

Richard Vivian is an award-winning journalist and longtime Guelph resident. He joined the GuelphToday team as assistant editor in 2020, largely covering municipal matters and general assignment duties
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