Fixing Bulldog’s pipe projects

The attached documents describe many problems with Bulldog-installed piping.

The first document describes the O’Brien project:


The second document pertains to the Spanaway School project:


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Bulldog brochure evidence…. supporting documents

Here are the documents that describe Bulldog owner Aron Cowin’s criminal history, and Bulldog’s response.


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Washington School District substitutes inferior building materials over advice of their engineers to accomodate piping contractor, according to testimony

Construction workers testified at an August 27, 2012 meeting of the Eastmont School District in Wenachee, Washington, that the District approved use of lower-quality piping and materials for the construction of the new Grant Elementary School. The witnesses claimed that the piping contractor, Three Rivers Mechanical, would probably not have been able to install the originally scheduled materials in a timely manner.

Documents relased under the Public Records Act support these claims. Minutes of an October 25, 2011 Board meeting show that the Board approved changes in the type of copper used in the domestic water piping, the chilled water system, leaving out insulation of the cold water piping, and a change from  Copper to PVC plastic for the condensate drain lines, among other changes.

Meulink Engineers strongly advised the Board not to approve utilization of lower-quality materials as follows; “Typically we do not allow PVC piping to be used on condensate piping, as … it will not hold up (for the 30-year building life.”

Cold water piping is subject to condensation. The condensation will … drip onto the ceiling tiles … and other ceiling construction, which could cause considerable damage.”

“(The change in copper, and use of thinner wall thickness in Schedule 10 piping) … will directly affect the longevity of the piping in a 30 year plumbing (and mechanical) system.”

The construction workers who testified at the hearing claimed that Three Rivers Mechanical would have needed far more time to correctly installed the original, superior quality piping and materials.

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OSHA fines Shumate $14,000

OSHA has proposed a $14,000 fine against Shumate Mechanical/Air Conditioning for failure to provide a safe workplace after a worker was killed by a falling pipe at the Benjamin High School construction project last year. Shumate improperly attempted to lift a 20-foot-long pipe by resting it on scissor-lift guard rails.

View our full report: Contractors’ Critic Spring 2012

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Bechtel construction inspector Michael Klink has filed a complaint charging that TIC — The Industrial Company — provided shoddy construction work at nine of the pumping stations on the high-profile Keystone crude oil pipeline.

You can view Klink’s entire complaint here: TICscan

Klink charged that TIC’s work did not follow the contract specifications. He witnessed TIC’s poor workmanship on the rebar, welding, shim installation and concrete work, and dangerous misuse of a forklift, at several of the pumping stations.

Instead of immediately correcting their work, TIC reacted poorly. A TIC Supervisor  “…went into a tirade, cursing at Mr. Klink, “…the fucking Bechtel inspector … we will build it our way.”

TIC representatives reportedly also spit on, and beat up another Bechtel construction inspector.  Klink also stated he suspected drug use by a TIC supervisor.

This is only the latest instance of allegations against TIC for construction quality problems.  In an earlier court case, TIC was accused of destroying a Colorado steel mill when a backhoe operator hit a natural gas pipeline, triggering an explosion.

Other recent Federal court cases involving TIC include new allegations of TIC’s discrimination on racial and disability grounds.  TIC has faced charges of discrimination before, including a landmark settlement with the EEOC several years ago in which TIC paid a multi-million settlement over racism allegations.

Another recent TIC court suit involves the explosion of a process vessel at a TIC-constructed ethanol plant in Wood River, Nebraska.

The Office of Pipeline Safety, in a June, 2010 letter, linked the oil spill at the Ludden pumping Station in North Dakota, (built by TIC), to faulty installation and overtorquing of a pipe nipple that caused cracking and its ultimate failure.

More information on TIC’s shoddy work has been revealed by Anthony Swift of NRDC and the Huffington Post.

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Ivey’s court battles with contractors in Texas

Two motions filed with a court in Texas illuminate Ivey’s court battles with a contractor in Texas.



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Ivey’s damaged goods

Here is the actual text from Ivey’s court cases as described in detail here.

In this document, Ivey is accused of damaging an air conditioning unit in a  crane mishap.


Here, a longtime company employee accuses Ivey of racism in this court suit.


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Coming next: Becon investigation. Court suits, sex harassment, safety hazards

The Contractors’ Critic is gathering extensive data and other information on Becon Construction. We take a close look at their ongoing big job at the Motiva Refinery. Stay tuned!!!

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The Troubled History of Ivey Mechanical

Ivey Mechanical currently enjoys one of the largest commercial construction businesses in the southeastern United States. If you look at Ivey Mechanical’s web site, you might think that the company has enjoyed several unbroken decades of success, beginning with its 1947 start-up in Mississippi.

The company grew from a small Mississippi contractor by picking up military and other government work, and became one,of the largest mechanical contractors in the country with over $140 million annual business in the nineties, and “briefly became part” of the consolidations in the mechanical contracting industry, before “acquiring itself” in 2003.

Now the Contractors’ Critic brings you the real story. Ivey’s own version of its history neglects to mention its role in the disastrous bankruptcies of Encompass, Ivey’s parent company that left projects half-built, and left equipment suppliers with unpaid bills of countless millions of dollars.

During the declining days of Ivey’s affiliation with Encompass, OSHA issued several serious citations and proposed thousands of dollars in fines against Ivey/Encompass. Soon after Ivey emerged from the Encompass bankruptcy, Ivey began aggressively filing court suits against some of its clients and others, to collect minor debts, according to court documents.

Download the full report (PDF):

Ivey Mechanical #1 Final 8-28-11 (4)

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During the last four decades, the construction industry has changed from a cooperative family of customers, contractors, workers, and unions, into a bitter struggle in which the low bid rules, and wages and construction quality suffer. Litigation, liens, faulty projects, and worker injuries are all threatening our industry’s future.

In this atmosphere, the industry deserves a closer look at the records of the contractors that have risen to the top.  The Contractors’ Critic will  provide the evidence you cannot find anywhere else; the court cases, liens, OSHA citations, and other data on contractors, and let you decide.

The Critic views court cases and liens as a plague on our construction industry. Contractors, employees and their organizations, and customers should be working together and settling their differences outside of the court house. But the trend in our industry is towards more court suits, not less. As the Engineering News Report has editorialized:

“If your only tool is a hammer, then every problem will look like a nail. When it comes to the construction industry, the main dispute resolution tool remains a lawyer, and every disagreement will look like a lawsuit. Lawsuits go against the basic nature of the industry. Construction is not an individual endeavor, but rather a business of team building. Successful teams and projects are built on the strengths of each member, while lawsuits and unsuccessful projects are founded on the weaknesses of team members. A decade or more may pass before there is any resolution of a dispute by the courts leaving no one a winner. Some industry sources claim the tide of dispute resolution may be turning back towards the courts. This may indicate that the construction industry has become too complacent to combat creeping litigiousness.”

The Critic could not agree more with this ENR editorial. These are the reasons why the Critic devotes its resources to researching and publishing details on litigation and liens in the construction industry. The Critic feels that the sheer numbers and the types of these lawsuits should be of grave concern to every contractor and construction customer.

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