Engineer stripped of licence after regulator finds Surrey high-rise not built to code
Published Thursday, May 9, 2019 11:32AM PDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 9, 2019 7:19PM PDT
Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia has forced a Vancouver-based structural engineer to turn in his licence and pay thousands in fines after finding a residential highrise in Surrey does not meet the province’s building code.
According to his company’s website, John Bryson is a founding partner of the firm Bryson Markulin Zickmantel, and has more than 45 years of experience in the industry.
In a disciplinary decision posted on its website, EGBC said Bryson admitted to unprofessional conduct and acting contrary to the association’s code of ethics.
Bryson also admitted that the building does not meet the 2006 B.C. Building Code, which he certified it had been designed in accordance with.
The sections of the code the building did not meet lay out guidelines for seismic and wind loads.
“The public deserves to have confidence that their homes are being designed to the current standard, and it’s a serious matter when that trust is betrayed,” said EGBC chief executive officer and registrar Ann English. “This individual failed to meet the professional and ethical standards required of him as a professional engineer.”
Tony Gioventu, executive director of the Condominium Homeowners Association has concerns for the people living in the building.
“I think they need to be worried about the value and safety of their homes,” he said. “If they know this is their building, they need to contact legal counsel right away and find out what their options are.”
The disciplinary notice said Bryson also agreed that he had failed to ensure an appropriate independent review of his building design was done.
His partner, John Zickmantel, was disciplined by EGBC last year after admitting he demonstrated unprofessional conduct relating to the independent review of a design for the same Surrey highrise.
He was suspended from the association for one month and agreed to pay a $10,000 fine.
The City of Surrey will not publically identify the tower in question, citing privacy issues, but says the strata corporation has been made aware and will be meeting with the city soon to discuss next steps.
“Forensic investigations of this sort can take months to a couple of years, depending on how detailed they become,” said Jerry Henge, an engineer with four decades of experience. “You have to take a jumping off point from whatever the existing reports say.”
According to Rémi Dubé, the city’s building division manager, the city and strata will work together to determine if there are any safety issues.
In addition to surrendering his licence, Bryson has to pay a $25,000 fine and pay EGBC $215,000 in costs.
On top of that, he and his firm could be subject to civil lawsuits from condo owners and the building’s strata corporation.
“I think lawsuits are not just possible, I think they’re probably going to happen,” said Gioventu.
He also said people thinking of selling a unit in the building should be aware of their obligations now that the issue has come out.
“They have to disclose it to any potential buyers who may come along to look at units in this building,” Gioventu said. “It’s probably an issue that has to be disclosed to the insurance provider for the building, as well as the warranty company. So it will be a very short period of time and everyone will know what building this is.”