City hall could be looking at a court battle after ordering a local builder to fix hundreds of problems with a south end condo complex.
A & S Construction has been told to fix building code violations in 56 different suites at 99 Keslar Road in Richmond West.
Most of the violations focus on things like weather stripping, insulation, attic access. In some cases inspectors found issues with smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors.
A & S appealed the orders today, arguing most of the violations were bogus. Lawyer Jason Harvey told the city’s property committee the city never did final inspections when the condos were built between 2008 and 2010. He said that means its too hard to tell which of the problems were real and which may have simply happened over time.
“I’d say this, the passage of time makes it difficult for any builder to know what’s a deficiency and what’s wear and tear.”
Also at issue, the fact that A & S only needed to meet the building code standards set from when the condos were built. The codes have changed since then. City administration admitted some of the violations may have been found using the current building code.
Chairperson John Orlikow and the rest of the committee voted unanimously to shut down the A & S appeal. Orlikow says any of the violations that were found using current code will be removed.
He says the city likely should have done the final inspections but building things right is the builders responsibility.
“Just because you called in for a final permit, or even if you have a final permit done, if you have deficiencies in it you are still liable as a builder,” says the councillor. “If you built it improperly, you built it improperly.”
But Harvey says, legally, making the phone call to ask for an inspection is all A & S had to do. He says they didn’t have to follow up after the fact.
That’s why the matter could end up in court. Harvey says he’ll be discussing all options with his client.
“They’ve made their decicsion and we’re going to have to go back and evaluate all our legal options.”
It’s unclear how much the repairs might cost.
Orlikow admits, the fact that a condo building may have gone six or seven years without a final inspection is concerning.
“We need to be able to get our permit officers out there more. We have to chase people a lot.”
Orlikow says a proposed set of new builders fees in the 2016 preliminary budget are partially set up to adress these types of issues moving forward.