August 28, 2008

$40M in Defect Lawsuits Filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court Against Swinerton

By Libby Tucker

Nearly three years after Swinerton Builders pulled out of Oregon, the general contractor is facing two construction defect lawsuits in the state.

Owners of The Resort at Seaside are suing the San Francisco- based builder for more than $39 million, in addition to attorney fees, to fix alleged construction defects and reimburse past repairs at the 415,000-square-foot beachfront condominium, which the builder completed in 2003.

Forest Grove School District is also seeking $530,000 from Swinerton and subcontractor Pioneer Sheet Metal Corp. to replace the metal roof of the Tom McCall Upper Elementary School, which allegedly began leaking a few months after the new building was finished in June of 2003.

A Swinerton spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuits.

Wyndham Resort Development Corp. and The Resort at Seaside condominium association allege Swinerton violated industry standards, drawings and specifications, manufacturers' instructions and building codes when it built the resort at 26 Avenue A in Seaside five years ago.

At the time, the company was operating in Oregon as Swinerton Builders of Oregon, a subsidiary of Swinerton Inc. in San Francisco. Then, after more than a decade of business in Oregon, Swinerton closed its Portland office in 2005.

The resort's lawsuit, filed on Aug. 8 in Multnomah County Circuit Court, includes a list of 16 complaints, including a range of defects in the resort's three, eight-story buildings that allow wind and water to penetrate the windows, walls, roof and fireplaces and damage interior walls and finishes. The association also alleges corrosion of the rooftop HVAC system, misaligned concrete floor slabs, and a defective concrete driveway that requires "excessive" maintenance, according to court documents.

"We don't comment on pending litigation," said Lisa Burby, a spokeswoman for Wyndham Resorts. "There's nothing we're going to talk about at this time."

On Jan. 11, Forest Grove School District filed a lawsuit in Washington County Circuit Court against Swinerton that alleged the company didn't supervise Pioneer Sheet Metal, which improperly installed a defective roof, and failed to uphold its 20-year warranty. Among other things, the lawsuit claims the metal panels aren't sealed well, don't overlap properly, and contain loose rivets contributing to damage of the underlying protective barrier.

Forest Grove School District's business director, Darin Davidson was unavailable for comment.

Originally published by Libby Tucker.

(c) 2008 Daily Journal of Commerce (Portland, OR). Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.