Industry Spotlight

Interface Consulting News:

  • Interface Consulting principal consultant Frank Adams, PE, testified in an ICC arbitration concerning a Panamanian power plant.
  • Frank Adams, PE gave an interview to the Wall Street Journal concerning how the construction issues involving the Panama Canal affect the shipbuilding industry.
  • Interface Consulting senior management speaks at the ABA Forum on the Construction Industry Midwinter meeting at the Atlantic Paradise Island Bahamas January 30 — 31.

Construction Arbitration

Chemoprojekt wins arbitration case

Prague Post

"Czech company Chemoprojekt has succeeded in arbitration disputes over chemical plants producing nitric acid in France and Hungary and will receive about 140 million Kč ($6.9 million USD) in arbitration damages....The firms were in a dispute over who was responsible for the collapse of a ceiling, weighing several tons, in a section of a building designed by the Czech company."

Company in dispute with CFU claims arbitrator couldn't hear, dozed off

WCF Courier

"Dustex Corp. asked a federal court in Iowa this week to vacate a $3.4 million arbitration award in favor of Cedar Falls Utilities. Kennesaw, Ga.-based Dustex argues that it did not receive a fair hearing due to the behavior of 76-year-old arbitrator Marshall P. Young, a retired state and federal judge in South Dakota....Young chaired a three-member panel that heard a dispute over environmental upgrades that the Cedar Falls utility sought to make to a coal-fired power plant in 2006....."

Construction Litigation

Court dispute could delay wind project

Dayton Daily News

"Developers of two phases of the Buckeye Wind Project had previously said they hoped to begin construction as early as this coming spring. But legal disputes over the project could potentially push back construction of the project by as much as a year. Combined, the project's two phases would build as many as 100 turbines spread throughout about 13,500 acres...."

DDG sues Tribeca Townhomes over alleged construction delays

The Real Deal

"Developer DDG has run into a problem building its 12-story residential project...The condominium board and sponsor of the Tribeca Townhomes next door have failed to give the developer access to the building as promised, according to a new lawsuit....But now, Tribeca Townhomes has declined to honor a $1.1 million agreement to let DDG's contractors erect scaffolding...the developer claims in a suit filed Dec. 24 in New York State Supreme Court. Without access, construction will stall out — and further delay could lead to a loan default, the suit alleges."

Construction Disputes

Danella settles PGW claims of overbilling

The Inquirer

"...Danella Cos., has agreed to pay more than $2.3 million to settle claims that it overbilled the Philadelphia Gas Works for materials....The city's Office of Inspector General said Tuesday that it found 'significant discrepancies' over three years in the amount of paving materials the Plymouth Meeting company used to patch up roadways after gas-main repairs....'They basically installed less than required and then overbilled PGW for $1.7 million...'...."

Morrison Bridge faulty decking: Conway Construction asks judge to reject Multnomah County's $2 million claim against Conway

The Oregonian

"The contractor that replaced the Morrison Bridge's old steel decking with faulty polymer decking has asked a judge to reject Multnomah County's lawsuit....Soon after the project to replace the bridge's slippery, 53-year-old steel decking with the safer polymer variety wrapped up in March 2012, the decking began coming apart....Conway's attorney said county officials knew the polymer decking used on the Morrison Bridge...was inferior to other brands. The county still directed Conway to use that brand...."

Construction Delays

DOT says contractor to blame for delays in I-75 construction in Pasco

Tampa Bay Times

"More than two years ago, the 3.6-mile slab of interstate between state roads 54 and 56 became a terrifying traffic funhouse, and there's hardly an end in sight....The Florida Department of Transportation...gave the contractor 565 days to finish widening the lanes...Then the usual and legitimate hang-ups presented themselves. DOT granted the contractor 270 extra days to work on the road because of weather, holidays, added work and design changes. With delays, the construction was slated to be finished by Nov. 10....It's not."

Burgoyne Bridge contract award delayed

Niagara This Week

"With the total cost to build a replacement for the Burgoyne Bridge in St. Catharines now as high as $91.3 million, regional politicians on Tuesday put off awarding the contract for the project to a Montreal firm....Instead, they directed regional staff to come back in three weeks with a report examining other design, technical and bid alternatives for what will be the most expensive project in the 42-year history of Niagara's regional government."

FIFA's Blatter Says Brazil Began World Cup Projects Too Late

Bloomberg News

"FIFA President Sepp Blatter criticized Brazil's preparations for this year's soccer World Cup after four stadiums missed the construction deadline set by the sport's global governing body....'It is the latest country since I've been at FIFA, even though it is the only one which had so long -- seven years -- to prepare....'"

Construction Defects

Harlem condo board takes developer to task over alleged construction gaffes

The Real Deal

"The board of managers of the Lenox condo building at 380 Lenox Avenue in Upper Manhattan is entity controlled by Lewis Futterman's Uptown Partners, over claims that the property is riddled with building code violations and rife with construction defects. The board also claims that Futterman has attempted to defraud the board and avoid facing liability over the alleged construction failures.....Thus far, unit owners have ponied up $260,000 for repairs, but an additional $4 million is required to complete the necessary work...."

Chevron Failed To Maintain Equipment Causing California Refinery Fire, EPA Says

Huffington Post

"Chevron Corp. failed to maintain equipment at a California refinery and has not responded adequately to multiple airborne chemical releases....The EPA filed a formal notice against Chevron finding 62 violations of federal environmental laws after an investigation spurred by the Aug. 6, 2012, fire....Federal chemical safety investigators have determined the blaze was caused by the failure of a corroded, 1970s-era pipe that released a massive gas cloud...."

Prestigious Architect Sued for 'Defective' Staten Island Playground

DNAinfo New York

"The city's School Construction Authority sued Ennead Architects, formerly known as the Polshek Partnership, last week for its 'defective design' of an outdoor courtyard and basketball court....According to court documents, the Chelsea-based firm...designed a playground that cracked almost immediately after it was completed....Because of the poor design, the SCA said the pavement would need to be completely removed and will cost nearly $1.4 million to replace, according to court documents."

Industry Spotlight

Panama Canal Expansion Plagued with Delays, Overruns, and Competition

The people of Panama overwhelmingly voted seven years ago to widen the Panama Canal to allow bigger boats and more money to flow into their country. For over five years, the multibillion-dollar expansion has been underway, but a recent payment dispute between the Panama Canal Authority and the European consortium constructing the project may drive the project to a halt. In addition, the Panama canal's once-vital waterway is facing competition from Egypt's Suez canal, a proposed Nicaraguan canal, and various shipping ports along the US East Coast. Read on to discover the proposal to get the work back on track, the issues plaguing the major construction project, and how the competition is taking advantage of the slowdown.

As Costs Soar, Who Will Pay For The Panama Canal's Expansion?

National Public Radio

"...The expansion is more than two-thirds done, but now a funding dispute between the builders and the canal operators threatens to bring construction to a halt....GUPC issued an ultimatum saying it would suspend work on the project unless Panama's government ponied up an extra $1.6 billion to help cover cost overruns."

After six years and billions of dollars, the Panama Canal expansion may grind to a halt

Public Radio International

"The Panama Canal Authority is refusing to pay for all the cost overruns....If the two sides can't resolve their dispute, they can go to arbitration. If an agreement still can't be reached, work could be halted...The Panama Canal Authority could then look for bids from another contractor to finish the project - an undesirable option for Panama as it would slow down the project and almost certainly raise the final cost."

Panama Canal authority proposes end to dispute over expansion costs

The Associated Press

"The Panama Canal Authority said...that it wants to end a standoff over the expansion of the canal by splitting construction costs....The authority said...that it would pay $183 million and Grupo Unidos por el Canal would put in $100 million to continue work for at least two more months while a long-term solution is negotiated. The Spanish-led consortium would have to withdraw its threat to halt work...."

Panama Canal Authority looks for solution to expansion standoff

Daily Commercial News

"The consortium...says unexpected problems with the quality of material supposed to be used to make cement spawned massive overruns, and blamed the canal authority for carrying out insufficient geological studies before work began.... he canal authority claimed the business consortium was unjustly trying to force it to pay by threatening to halt work."

£24bn rival to Panama Canal to break ground this year

The Telegraph

"The backers of a new Central American mega-waterway to rival the Panama Canal have insisted the $40bn (£24bn) project will begin this year....The 170-mile shipping route...traversing Nicaragua is expected to take five years to complete, with ground scheduled to be broken in December....Its construction is essential to deal with a surge in global trade and the rise of colossal supertankers, many of which are too large for the ageing Panama Canal...."

Smaller, Slower, More Expensive: Panama Canal Losing Shipping To Other Routes

Fox News Latino

"The $5.25 billion expansion project for the Panama Canal is slated to finish in 2015....But...many shipping companies are looking to other routes to transit cargo across the globe. The world's biggest container shipping company, Maersk Line, has already abandoned Panama in favor of Egypt's Suez Canal, which has no locks, and other companies are finding cheaper and faster routes to the U.S. East Coast by shipping to ports in California and then(sic) transiting goods overland by train."

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