Las Vegas tries to recoup repair costs from flood at new city hall


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Las Vegas tries to recoup repair costs from flood at new city hall

By Michael Lopardi. CREATED Feb 5, 2014

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- A broken pipe at the new Las Vegas City Hall caused thousands of dollars in damage last November and taxpayers could be left with part of the bill.

Elevators closed off. Ceiling tiles missing. Water puddled up. Photos from the city show the aftermath of the pipe burst from Nov. 18. The city is blaming contractor error for the problem.

"The water literally flowed from the 8th floor all the way down into the basement," said city communications director David Riggleman.

At the time, the building was less than two years old. On Wednesday, city staff updated the city council on the problem.

"It failed at about 2 a.m. in the morning," a city staffer told council. "The water damage was seen around the elevators on all floors of city hall."

The city said the original contractor placed an iron plug in the four-inch copper pipe. The two materials don't mix, causing the pipe to eventually burst. The city said the water drained for several hours in the early morning before the problem was discovered.

"It was a brand new building at the time, not even two years old when it happened," said Riggleman."It was a little painful to see the brand new city hall have that water damage in it."

Riggleman said the damage totaled $355,000. An insurance company covered most of the bill, except the city's $10,000 deductible which was covered by taxpayers.

"We're in negotiations with the contractor now and the subcontractor to hopefully recoup the costs of the deductible, that $10,000," Riggleman said.

But that's not a guarantee and it may not be the only problem with the new building.

Councilwoman Lois Tarkanian pointed out an elevator used by council that's had trouble since day one.

"It's so frustrating when it's an on and off type of elevator," Tarkanian said during the meeting. "I just wish that you'd be able to go after construction people for that because that's not been working since the very beginning."

The deputy city manager said the city was in talks with the contractor who did the work to get the elevator fixed, but did not name the contractor.

"It's a new building," Riggleman said. "Sometimes you have some problems here and there. Again, the general contractor is working with us to get that corrected as well."

As for the pipe problem, Riggleman named Whiting-Turner as the general contractor and Bombard Mechanical as the subcontractor on that part of the project. On Wednesday, a person at Whiting-Turner who did not identify them self said it is the company's policy not to the talk to the media and then hung up the phone. Action News left two messages with Bombard on Wednesday but has yet to hear back.