Engineering firm negligent, breached contract in Quincy Il. demolition that led to lawsuit

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QUINCY — Adams County says the Quincy engineering firm hired to oversee the demolition of various buildings in the footprint of the new county jail was negligent and breached its contract in its services to the county.
The county filed a third-party complaint Tuesday in Adams County Circuit Court against Poepping, Stone, Bach and Associates, responding to a lawsuit from Blick’s Construction Co., claiming the county owed it money for extra demolition work. Blick’s filed the lawsuit against the county April 3, seeking $117,019 for the additional demolition work that the county declined to pay for. In court documents, the county said Poepping, Stone, Bach and Associates failed to thoroughly inspect the properties “to obtain a proper and complete understanding of the composition … of said buildings,” failed to ask the former owners questions on the composition of the buildings, failed to oversee the demolition that would have prevented additional work at the county’s cost, and failed to inform Blick’s that it did not have authority to complete additional work without written approval from the county.
Blick’s was awarded the $677,112 bid Jan. 10, 2017, to raze the buildings at 607, 609 and 615 Vermont, and 300 and 314 N. Sixth, along with the former Adams County Health Department building.
Blick’s lawsuit alleges that it did not build additional tasks that were required for the project into its bid because they were not included in the project manual, which was prepared by Poepping, Stone, Bach and Associates.
The biggest additional cost — $72,046 — the suit claims was the discovery of a previously demolished building underneath the parking lot between 304 and 314 N. Sixth, which required removing debris, filling the hole with rock, and compacting the area.
An additional $8,451 was charged for the wall removal and filling in of a basement at 607 Vermont, which the lawsuit says was not included in the project manual. The lawsuit claims that the manual said a retaining wall footing at the former Health Department building was not thicker than 2 feet, but in reality it was twice as thick. This added $5,600 to the cost. The lawsuit says extra rock totaling $10,960 was required to fill in a concrete slab removed from 314-316 N. Sixth and an additional $19,872 was billed to remove a concrete foundation at 609 Vermont and fill it in, instead of a limestone foundation as laid out in the manual. In its answer to the Blick’s lawsuit, the county denied the allegations and said Poepping, Stone, Bach and Associates was acting as an agent of the county in evaluating the buildings but denied that it was acting at the direction of the county.
The next hearing in the case is set for July 11.

By Matt Hopf Herald-Whig

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