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Construction dispute erupts from health center project

A New York construction project has led to a legal dispute between a plumbing subcontractor and the general construction company managing the medical center expansion in Poughkeepsie. The plumbing company, based in Fairfield, New Jersey, is suing Walsh Group and Consigli, claiming it is owed $5.5 million in past due payments as well as $16.4 million in punitive damages. The plumbing firm argues that it was significantly damaged by excessive changes and cost overruns at the building site. It also says that its work was delayed repeatedly due to design defects and serious construction problems at the site.

The construction of the Vassar Brothers Medical Center is a comprehensive, $545 million project involving a number of subcontractors as well as the general contractor. The plumbing firm argues that ongoing problems led it to file 390 separate requests for information as well as 109 change orders due to problems it discovered in the design and planning of the building. It claims that these issues affected ongoing scheduling and coordination, preventing the company from completing its work. When the company first received the $17.9 million contract to install plumbing at the property, it was planned as a seven-story project including 696,000 square feet of space. Two years later, HealthQuest, the owner of the property, changed the plans to an eight-story layout over 752,000 square feet.

The plumbing subcontractor says that it was not given up-to-date designs or revised schedules to reflect the changes. When its expert reviewed the plans the company received, major parts of the design impacting plumbing installation were missing, leading to extra work and more delays.

Large construction projects can lead to disputes, especially when multi-year projects with significant overruns or delays are involved. A construction law attorney may help the parties to resolve construction contract disputes productively.

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