School board files suit over shoddy building job

October 05, 1994|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,Sun Staff Writer

The Anne Arundel County school board has filed a damage suit alleging that the firms hired to build Crofton Meadows Elementary School in 1988 used substandard materials, creating problems costing at least $950,000 to fix.

The suit in Circuit Court alleges that CAM Construction Co. Inc., the Timonium contractor, used slag to fill in the foundation, which cracked the concrete floor and caused "cracks in the mortar of the ceramic tile, shifting of door frames and jams, and buckling of the drop ceiling."

It also raised a 2-inch "hump" in the floor along the width of the building and led to other "irregular and unpredictable conditions," the suit says.

The suit, filed late Monday, alleges that school officials had to hire a contractor to repair the cracks. It puts the cost of repairs so far at $950,000, but said the exact cost has yet to be determined.

"The Board of Education's damages are being quantified and will be presented at trial," the suit says.

Along with CAM Construction, the suit names as defendants the Travelers Indemnity Co. of Hartford, Conn., which insured the project; Probst-Mason Inc., the Baltimore architect; LPJ Inc., a Baltimore engineering firm; and T.L.B. Associates, the Millersville geotechnical engineering consultant hired for the project.

Spokesmen for the defendants contacted yesterday declined to discuss the suit.

Crofton Meadows opened in January 1990 and has an enrollment of 600 students in kindergarten through grade five.

Mark Moran, supervisor of design and construction for Anne Arundel schools, said yesterday that the defects were repaired over the past two summers by SMS Inc., a Baltimore contractor, without disrupting any educational programs.

He said the problems were confined to about one-third of the two-story brick building, where materials put under the foundation expanded and caused the floors and walls to buckle. The problems, mostly on the north side of the building, were fixed by repairing the cracks and tearing up the flooring and removing the materials, he said.

The suit, which does not specify the amount of damages, was filed under claims of breach of contract, breach of warranty and negligence.

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