Home Construction Plumbing firm sues Vassar Brothers Medical Center contractor for $5.5M

Plumbing firm sues Vassar Brothers Medical Center contractor for $5.5M

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A plumbing contractor on the $545 million Vassar Brothers Medical Center expansion in Poughkeepsie is accusing the general contractor of botching the project’s design and management.

A rendering of the new patient pavilion under construction at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie.

Brian Trematore Plumbing & Heating Inc. sued Walsh/Consigli JV on Oct. 23 in White Plains federal court for $5.5 million.

“The level of bad faith and wrongdoing on the part of defendants is to such a degree that the specter of fraud … cannot be ignored,” the lawsuit states.

Pete Doherty, director of public relations for the Walsh Group, declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Walsh/Consigli is a joint venture of Walsh Construction Group of Chicago and Consigli Construction Co. of Milford, Massachusetts.

They are building an eight-story, 752,000-square-foot medical building with hundreds of patient rooms, critical care rooms, emergency department, surgical suites and a conference center.

Trematore Plumbing, based in Fairfield, New Jersey, was awarded the $17.9 million plumbing contract.

From the outset, Trematore claims, the design “was not as promised in the subcontract.”

Trematore hired an independent design expert who allegedly determined that the design omitted, for example, a pneumatic tube communication system and data communications  system.

Conflicts between building specialties, such as plumbing and electrical, were “incumbent in the design.”

Water pipes and medical gas piping did not fit their allotted space, the complaint states. Toilet outlets were located directly above steel framing. A copper-silver ionization system to prevent biological hazards such as legionella was not included in the original design.

Trematore Plumbing & Heating claims that many of the 109 change orders it submitted were not answered, resolved or approved, resulting in “a rippling effect on work sequencing, scheduling and coordination.” Trematore said it had to improvise, at great cost and delays, to complete the work.

Trematore said it submitted 390 requests for information, but Walsh/Consigli gave unacceptable answers, no answers or delayed answers.

The plumbing company was back-charged for “re-work costs” that it claims were the result of bad planning and untimely responses to questions.

Walsh/Consigli accused the plumbing company of failing to perform work as required, the complaint notes. But each example given, Trematore alleges, was “directly attributable to defendants’ improper management of the project.”

The completion date was extended to February 2020, from August 2019, according to the complaint, yet Trematore has not received an updated “critical path” schedule.

Trematore said it is still owed nearly $5.5 million for its work. It is also demanding $16.4 million in punitive damages.

Trematore is represented by Pougkeepsie attorney David R. Wise.

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