Construction firm sues subcontractors over losses from partial building collapse Downtown

CINCINNATI (Enquirer) – A Monroe, Ohio-based construction company is suing two Cincinnati-area subcontractors, claiming the firms are responsible for the partial collapse of a Downtown mixed-use redevelopment, according to our media partners at the Enquirer.

Baker Concrete Construction Inc. filed the lawsuit late last month against Gateway Concrete Forming Services Inc., Advantage Group Engineers Inc. and Joshua Tolchinsky, an engineer employed by Advantage, according to a complaint filed in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.

In court documents, attorneys for Baker say the company entered into agreements with Turner Construction to provide design, labor, materials and equipment needed to install all the structural concrete for the 14-story Fourth and Race redevelopment project.

Turner Construction was the general contractor for the project, which consists of a 584-space parking garage, commercial space and a 264-unit apartment building.

MORE | Visual breakdown of what caused the partial collapse at downtown Cincinnati building

A view of the collapsed area of a building on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019.
A view of the collapsed area of a building on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019.(Albert Cesare/The Enquirer)

The complaint says Gateway was responsible for designing and installing the formwork needed for Baker to install elevated concrete slabs, adding Advantage was retained by Gateway for professional engineering services.

Tolchinsky designed the formwork for the elevated concrete slabs that were later installed by Gateway, the complaint states.

In November 2019, the complaint says, a portion of that formwork failed and collapsed while workers for Baker were placing concrete for the elevated floor slab on the project’s seventh level.

Attorneys for Baker say the company has suffered damage to its reputation as well as losses stemming from clean-up, remediation and delay costs as a result of the collapse.

The complaint also states Baker’s “equipment, materials, and partially completed work” were either damaged or destroyed.

The lawsuit accuses Gateway, Advantage and Tolchinsky of negligence. Baker is also accusing Gateway of breach of contract, saying the firm “negligently failed to administrate and oversee” Advantage.

According to the complaint, Baker is seeking damages in excess of $7 million.

Construction workers survey the collapsed section of a building where there is a search to...
Construction workers survey the collapsed section of a building where there is a search to recover a missing worker on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019.(Albert Cesare/The Enquirer)

Preston Todd Delph, 58, a Gateway employee, died after the structure gave way while concrete was being poured on the seventh level.

Former Cincinnati Fire Chief Roy Winston said at the time that Delph was monitoring the concrete work from below, checking for leaks and stresses, when the collapse occurred.

Five other people were hospitalized as a result of the collapse, though they were all eventually released from the hospital, according to previous Enquirer reporting.

Representatives for Gateway and Advantage have yet to return messages seeking comment. The Enquirer was unable to reach Tolchinsky Thursday morning and court records did not indicate whether he has obtained legal representation.

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