The Paraiso Bay electrical subcontractor says it’s owed more than $1.9 million for its work on the condominium tower after Plaza Construction allegedly mismanaged the project and didn’t allot additional time for extra work arising from design changes.
Dynalectric Co., a subsidiary of Connecticut-based infrastructure company EMCOR Group Inc., was hired through a $5.3 million contract with New York-based general contractor Plaza Construction in 2014 for electrical work on the now-finished 53-story building that’s part of the four-tower Paraiso complex in Miami’s trendy Edgewater.
“Plaza’s failure to extend the contract time for the project delays and impacts placed unrelenting pressure on Dynalectric to meet unrealistic and artificial completion dates. … Dynalectric was forced to work extensive overtime and to increase its manpower to levels not anticipated of foreseen by Dynalectric when the contract was awarded,” Dynalectric says in its Nov. 14 lawsuit against Plaza.
Plaza President Brad Meltzer said his firm will defend itself.
“Plaza Construction has meritorious defenses and cannot comment further on this pending litigation,” he said in part in an emailed statement.
Dynalectric’s attorney, R. Steven Holt of Katz Barron in Fort Lauderdale, didn’t return a request for comment.
Plaza isn’t entirely to blame for the design changes, as many likely came from the developer and architect, Dyanalectric said in its Miami-Dade Circuit Court complaint. But the company said Plaza didn’t give extra time to finish the work, didn’t properly respond to requests for work changes Dynalectric turned in and mismanaged the project by giving directions orally to control the work instead of using the proper scheduling system.
“The result was a chaotic workflow,” according to the complaint.
Plaza issued 13 major project design changes, most of which affected electrical work, and Dynalectric made more than 250 change orders, which are requests for extra payment or more time that the general contractor submits to the developer. Dynalectric says its contract required Plaza to review these change orders as soon as it gets them and to reply promptly. Yet, Dynalectric says, some of the change orders still are pending.
Plaza “demanded direct cost concessions that were unfair and unwarranted as a condition to funding any costs at all. … Plaza effectively held Dynalectric hostage, withholding funding for long periods and demanding arbitrary price reductions,” according to the complaint.
Aside from how Plaza managed the project, Dynalectric also is taking issue with how Plaza represented things versus the reality. Plaza held out the prospect that Dynalectric would be treated fairly and that there would be a “fair resolution of the impact and inefficiency costs caused by the changes and the mismanagement by Plaza. At the same time, according to the complaint, Plaza’s contract with the developer spelled out a delays payment recourse for Plaza — but none for subcontractors like Dynalectric.
Plaza also had levied similar accusations against the developer. On Aug. 24, 2017, it sued site owner PRH NE 31st Street LLC, an affiliate of Paraiso complex developer, Miami-based The Related Group, seeking to get paid for the extra work it had to do stemming from the many design changes. PRH NE 31st Street denied the claims and counter-sued alleging Plaza had a $115 million guaranteed maximum price for the contract that could be increased only under certain conditions. It also in part accused Plaza of not finishing the project on time, meaning Plaza owes liquidated damages; not hiring a competent project manager and adequately skilled staff; and not meeting contract and governmental construction requirements, including the Florida Building Code.
The suit was dismissed Feb. 27, 2018, after Plaza and PRH NE reached a settlement, which remains sealed.
Dynalectric claims it should have been included in the settlement but instead was kept in the dark, contrary to both its contract and standard practice.
Dynalectric says some of the changes that made for extra work on the building at 650 NE 31st St. included numerous late design changes to electrical and fire alarm systems; foundation work-related and pool deck lighting design delays; and late, incomplete and defective electrical and fire alarm designs.
Dynalectric argues that its understanding when it signed on for the job was that project designs were finished.
The claims include breach of contract and breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing counts, as well as a quantum meruit count seeking Plaza to pay for Dynalectric’s extra work.