Gilbane sues St. Paul’s over sweating gym

St. Paul’s School has refused to pay its construction company to fix what the company says are screw-ups by the school’s architect that resulted in moisture damage to the school’s new gym, according to a lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court in Concord.Gilbane Building Company says the Concord prep school owes the Rhode Island firm more than $250,000 and has placed a mechanic’s lien on the school for that amount.Here is what happened, according to Gilbane: Gilbane built the gym – known as the St. Paul’s Athletic and Fitness Center – according to detailed plans provided by Architectural Resources Cambridge, Inc., as specified in a 2002 contract. In 2004, after weekly inspections, ARC certified that the gym had been completed in accordance to its specification, the lawsuit says. But in 2005, St. Paul’s noticed calcium carbonate stains on its brick, which ARC attributed to “new building bloom.” Skip forward to 2009, when St. Paul’s retained another architect, Simpson, Gumpertz & Heger, which determined that the cause of the water staining was moist air from the natatorium, condensing within the buildings walls and coming out through the brick veneer exterior, due to defects in the structure’s vapor barrier. The moist air also was entering the mechanical mezzanine, causing damage to the building, the new architects said.St. Paul told Gilbane it had to fix the work, but Gilbane blamed ARC’s improper design and St. Paul’s failure to operate the building’s HVAC system to maintain a negative pressure environment.St. Paul’s issued additional sketches or “corrections” (in the suit’s words) to ARC’s original design. Gilbane declined to do the work at first, until St. Paul’s agreed to put the money in escrow. ARC did not go along with the escrow account, but Gilbane went ahead with the work anyway, until an escrow agreement was finalized.”St. Paul’s repeatedly stated it would pay Gilbane for any betterments, regardless of the repair issues, but to date has paid less than one-half the amount due for the betterments,” the suit says.Gilbane submitted a bill of more than $65,000 for that additional work, but only got paid $30,000. The company has incurred costs in excess of $250,000 performing repairs and renovations.St. Paul’s, which had yet to be served by the suit, declined comment. — BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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