YG sues Norcope over $3.7M airport contract

The Yukon government is suing a local construction company over a $3.7-million contract to replace apron panels at Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport.

The Yukon government is suing a local construction company over a $3.7-million contract to replace apron panels at Erik Nielsen Whitehorse International Airport.

In a statement of claim filed Feb. 23 in Yukon Supreme Court, the government alleges Norcope Enterprises Ltd. defaulted on its obligations.

As a result, it wants Norcope to pay back the entire cost of the contract.

The government contracted Norcope in March 2014 to replace 250 apron panels at the airport. The apron is the area where planes park and unload passengers.

The government alleges it notified the company of problems with the work as early as in June 2014, two months after work began.

A year later the government claims it asked Norcope to redo the work because of a number of problems with the aprons, including “panel cracking, poor panel surface finish, panel edge spalling and raveling and joint sealant failure,” the lawsuit reads.

According to the statement of claim, Norcope told the government it didn’t think there were any deficiencies from its work and had no obligation to redo the work.

Given what Norcope CEO Doug Gonder told the News in late 2015, it’s likely the company will contest the government’s lawsuit.

In December 2015 Gonder said he raised concerns with the government in the summer of 2014 but was told to keep working.

At the time Gonder said that the government had ordered the panels to be built without proper support underneath resulting in the concrete sinking as soon as it was poured.

“They just ignored everything and kept building. It’s a real shame because this is a high-profile job that should have been delivered properly,” he said at the time.

Instead, he said, “we’ve got a failed project.”

In December 2015 the Yukon Party government blamed Norcope for the apron issues and told the legislative assembly the company would be responsible for replacing the panels.

But Gonder said the government even issued him a letter he claims waived some of his company’s liability.

“Any cracking in the concrete panels will be investigated by both Norcope and the Government of Yukon. If the crack is shown to be caused by differential settlement, this will not be covered by Norcope’s one-year warranty,” reads the letter, dated June 11, 2014.

A spokesperson for Highways and Public Works previously told the News the work was completed during the summer of 2014. The majority of the project was paid for by the federal government, with the Yukon government pitching in about $525,000.

The government is also seeking $1.7 million from Intact Insurrance.

When the government awarded Norcope the airport contract, it also made the company execute a performance bond, meaning that if Norcope was declared in default of the contract, Norcope’s insurance had to pay the value of the bond, which is half the value of the contract.

In its lawsuit the government said that Norcope’s failure to meet its obligations caused it to “suffer loss.”

It doesn’t indicate how much it cost to replace the aprons.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Gonder didn’t return the News’ calls by deadline.

With files from Maura Forrest

Contact Pierre Chauvin at pierre.chauvin@yukon-news.com

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