CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Ongoing and un-repaired HVAC problems at the city of Charlotte’s Solid Waste Services building is now a lawsuit between the city and the contractors who designed, built, and installed it.
The lawsuit alleges negligence and breach of contract and seeks approximately $1.2 million dollars in damages.
Even on a fairly cool day, the Solid Waste Services building on Otts Street feels humid.
According to the lawsuit, the problem is a heating and air conditioning system that never worked right since the building opened in 2010.
"It has been determined that there were errors in the original construction of this,” said Charlotte City Council Member LaWana Mayfield during a recent budget workshop.
Issues include chiller problems. Among those problems are undersized pipes, coils, duct work, and roof top air units that don’t work properly – and the list goes on.
Morris-Berg Architects, Incorporated, Elm Engineering, Incorporated and Shelco, Incorporated, are named as lawsuit defendants.
"The City is informed and believes that the defects and deficiencies described above have caused, and if not corrected, will continue to cause, among other things, interference with the effectiveness and efficiency of the HVAC System, discomfort for the inhabitants of the facility, increased energy costs, and increased wear and tear on an inadequate system leading to higher and more frequent maintenance costs,” the lawsuit says.
The city asked the defendants to fix the issues, and went to mediation to ask for design calculations -- but those efforts didn’t resolve the problem.
Morris-Berg Architects says it is working with the city to get the lawsuit resolved. As of this writing we did not hear back from Elm Engineering or Shelco.
The city hired an outside consultant to research the problem.
"It is one of those situations where you have an architect and a contractor pointing the finger at each other, which is why we've had to go to litigation. We will do our best to recover most if not all of this money,” said Charlotte City Attorney Robert Hagemann.
The city is looking into using tax money to fix the HVAC problem while going forward in court, so employees can work in a healthy environment.
"They have not been very responsive in dealing with this problem,” officials said.
NBC Charlotte contacted all three defendants but has not yet heard back.