Woodward's building concrete crumbling: $1M lawsuit
People walking the streets next to the Woodward’s building in Gastown might want to look up--not to the iconic "W" on the roof, but to watch out for falling concrete.
That’s according to a lawsuit from Woodward’s condo owners that claims the smaller tower, W32, could be a risk to pedestrians as water is rusting rebar and causing concrete to crack.
There is “concrete cracking, creating a weakening of the structure and a falling hazard of concrete breaking off the structure,” the notice of claim says, as well as “concrete spalling (crumbling) due to insufficient concrete depth around rebar enforcement, and corrosion of rebar.”
To fix it would cost $1 million, the suit says, demanding that the developer and over a dozen contractors pay up over what the suit claims are deficiencies in the design and construction of the tower.
But W Redevelopment Group, which Westbank belongs to, says the crumbling concrete is only in “isolated” parts of the building.
“In 2014, the developer, W Redevelopment Group, was made aware of concrete spalling occurring in a few isolated areas of the project, which were immediately rectified. We are not aware of any further incidents of concrete spalling,” the company said in a statement.
The suit, which was filed in 2016, refers to a 2014 engineering report done five years after the building opened with designs of transforming the Downtown Eastside.
That survey found fourteen cases of exposed rebar in the exterior of the building, and warned: “Unrepaired exposed steel will corrode and cause more of the surrounding concrete to spall and break off, creating a safety hazard for vehicles and pedestrians below.”
The review found nine cases of staining from corrosion, 12 cases of concrete cracks, as well as 13 cases of efflorescence of concrete--a streaking that is a sign of moisture ingress--and two cases of missing sealant.
The building management company, Tribe, didn’t return any of CTV News’ calls.
John Grasty, who fought for owners during the leaky condo crisis, says that there are worrying signs in the report.
“External cracks that are very visible with chunks missing. Obviously something’s wrong,” he said.
A City of Vancouver spokesperson said she would follow up with the Facilities and Estates department to find out if there are additional steps the city is taking.
It’s hardly the first time chunks have fallen from buildings. In Toronto, glass panels from balconies have fallen, injuring pedestrians.
And only a few blocks away from the Woodward’s building, in Pigeon Park, a heavy concrete panel fell from the Merchants Bank building, only about a metre from someone sleeping there.