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Litigation in Public Safety Building design defect case concludes
Litigation in Wayland Public Safety Building design defect case concludes

A twelve person jury found civil engineering firm BSC negligent in its design of the drainage system at the town's Public Safety Building, but declined to hold the firm financially responsible for the resulting damage.  The two week trial held in Suffolk Superior Court concluded last week with the split verdict.  "We have great respect for the jury's deliberations, but respectfully disagree with the conclusions," said Steve Correia, chair of the Wayland Board of Selectmen.

The Public Safety Building was constructed in 2002 and 2003.  BSC was the civil engineer on the architect's team of~professionals charged with designing a system that would prevent ground water from penetrating the basement slab.  Town officials alleged that deficiencies in the design resulted in cracking and heaving of the basement concrete floor in 2005.
Water caused damage to material stored in the basement, as well as damage to the building's heating, cooling, ventilation, electrical and telecommunications systems.  In 2006, many of those systems were elevated to guard against future flooding or relocated within the building.  Subsequent storms have resulted in additional cracking and increasing amounts of water entering the basement, the worst occurring in April of this year when more than 30 inches of water collected in the basement while pumps were brought in to keep the water from rising any higher.  The pumping continued for six weeks until the ground water in the area returned to pre-storm levels.
The town filed suit against the architect and civil engineers in 2008 seeking damages to repair the basement slab and to install a functioning drainage system.  "We believe as a Board that it was critical to hold the design team accountable for how they discharge their responsibilities as professionals," said Correia.  “It has been the consistent position of each selectman since the damage occurred.”  

The Town had earlier this year reached a negotiated settlement of litigation it filed against the project architect concerning defective design of both sections of the building envelope and its role in the failure of the underslab drainage system.  BSC and its insurer never admitted any deficiencies or defects in the design, instead blaming the problem on the high ground water table in the area and the proximity of an adjacent brook.  The parties participated in mediation of the case earlier this year, but BSC and its insurer never made a substantive settlement offer at that time or at any point through the conclusion of jury deliberations.

The Town was represented by Wayland resident John Perten of Sheehan, Phinney, Bass + Green of Boston.