Charles Winokoor

| The Herald News

FALL RIVER – The war of words continues.

The owner of a Fall River HVAC company, who last week accused the construction manager of the new BMC Durfee High School of mistreating the $ 263 million construction project, said he has already taken legal action.

Dwight D. Silvia, owner of DDS Industries, said a letter of surety was filed against the surety for Suffolk Construction – the Boston company hired by the city to oversee the new high school on Elsbree Street what is expected to be ready in time for the 2021-2022 school season.

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Silvia caught attention last week when a long and strongly worded letter he delivered to a local independent media company was posted on his Facebook page.

In his letter, Silvia described the Durfee High building as the worst-built structure he has seen in his 51 years in the construction industry.

The online letter sparked a counter-argument in the form of a five-page letter sent to Mayor Paul Coogan by the Boston-based company LeftField, which acts as the owner’s project manager (OPM) on behalf of Suffolk Construction.

In his letter, James Rogers, principal of LeftField, attributes most of the delays in the Durfee High project to the unsatisfactory performance of Silvias DDS Industries, which won a $ 26 million contract to install the heating, ventilation and air conditioning Has .

Rogers described Silvia’s Facebook letter as “a barely veiled attempt to be one step ahead of a developing narrative that will do him great harm”.

“Without the impact of DDS on the project, it would still be ahead of the original blueprint,” he wrote.

However, Rogers acknowledged that “significant quality issues have been identified so far,” not all of which are due to DDS Industries, which were “tracked and reviewed” by the site manager, Ai3 Architects, and “the entire project team.”

He said Suffolk Construction removed and discarded wet drywall and brought in a hygienist who inspected the area and was satisfied with a lack of mold evidence so that new drywall could be installed.

Rogers also said the roofer will cover the cost of replacing previously installed asphalt shingle roofs on the front of the building that were found to be unsuitable.

In response to Rogers’ letter, Silvia emailed Coogan and a reporter a detailed counter-argument on Monday afternoon.

Silvia initially accused Suffolk Construction of causing long delays for its company due to poor supervision and site management.

He cited the example of sheetrock and cabinets that needed to be replaced after they were saturated – which, according to Silvia, could lead to mold and mildew if a rain storm last summer poured water into parts of the building that had no windows installed.

Silvia accused Suffolk Construction, in his role as project manager, of failing to ensure that all vertical wall surfaces in the three-story building were properly equipped with a mandatory fire protection system.

And he accuses Suffolk of prematurely and arbitrarily discontinuing the practice of measuring the temperature of workers entering the construction site as a preventive COVID-19 measure.

Silvia says he lost “more than 80 working days” when some of his 35 pipe fitters and 25 sheet metal workers had to quarantine.

“Two months later they (Suffolk) decided to stop taking temperatures to save money,” he said during a telephone interview.

Silva also criticizes Coogan for failing to investigate what he believes was a lengthy delay in submitting payments from City Hall to Suffolk Construction, which in turn is responsible for paying DDS Industries and other subcontractors.

According to Silvia, the city is now three months behind schedule to meet its obligation.

Mayor Coogan did not respond to a request for comment.

More: “Can’t wait for it to be demolished”: Durfee’s headmaster says the new school will meet the needs of the 21st century

In his email to the Mayor, Silvia also says that he “got tired of waiting for Suffolk to install ceilings required to complete ceiling HVAC equipment.

“Starting today, we will install the devices regardless of whether ceilings are installed or not. Suffolk is responsible for any damage or adjustments. “

Rogers said in his letter that delays by DDS Industries prevented the installation of ceiling grids and tiles and that “the project had to approve change requests to other contractors for out-of-order work or rework as a result of DDS”. Actions.”

According to Silvia, his lawsuit will include compensation for a 41-day delay when his company receives his contract from Suffolk Construction.

He says the HVAC and plumbing offer was released separately months after the general construction offer.

Silvia claims Suffolk waited 41 days instead of the governmental five days to award the approved HVAC contract to DDS Industries. that it was also planned that DDS would start work before Silvia had the contract in hand; and that Suffolk refused to extend the deadline and immediately declared DDS to be behind schedule.

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Suffolk Construction issued a statement Monday denying Silvia’s allegation, saying Silvia waited a month and a half before signing the electronic contract document.

Rogers said in his letter that Suffolk DDS Industries “contracted” 14 times.

Silvia said the premise of these contractual notices was unfounded.

Towards the end of his last letter, Silvia pokes fun at the LeftField name and notes that the company is “aptly and appropriately named”.

Rogers says in his letter that LeftField has had a longstanding, professional relationship with Fall River and has always taken a “transparent and direct approach to these projects”.

He also noted that LeftField and Suffolk Construction recently added seasoned senior executives to their respective supervisory staff who will spend time on the Durfee High School construction site each week.

Silvia said he wasn’t impressed.

“So they added more people. What does that tell you ” he said.