The Real Deal Miami

Another subcontractor files lawsuit targeting Frost museum’s design team

Design defects allegedly caused months of inactivity at construction site

October 25, 2016 05:30PM
By Sean Stewart-Muniz

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The Patricia & Philip Frost Museum of Science

The Patricia & Philip Frost Museum of Science

Yet another construction firm has piled onto the legal firestorm embroiling the Patricia & Phillip Frost Museum of Science in downtown Miami, alleging that negligence from the project’s design team caused significant delays.

The latest suit was filed in Miami-Dade County Circuit Court by Kirlin Florida, an affiliate of construction company Kirlin Group, which was hired by then-general contractor Suffolk Construction in 2013 to install plumbing and marine life safety systems for the aquatic exhibits.

Much like the suits filed this year by Suffolk and other subcontractors on the project, Kirlin alleges that errors in the science museum’s design made by its engineers and architects caused the builder to backtrack on its work. Progress was also made difficult when the design team failed to return revisions to construction plans in a timely manner, according to the suit.

As Suffolk’s Executive Vice President Jeffrey Gouveia previously said, that led to months of inactivity at the site in 2013. Kirlin said in the suit that led the firm to incur “extended performance costs, and costs due to being forced inefficiently.”

A spokesperson for the museum told The Real Deal that construction is still slated to be completed by December, and the expected opening date is in early 2017 following the installation of the exhibits. The museum declined to comment on the litigation.

Kirlin’s suit names Rodriguez and Architects Chartered, the project’s architect of record; Fraga Engineers; Grimshaw Architects; and DDA Engineers. Requests for comment made to the defendants were not immediately returned.

Each is accused of a count of negligence, and Kirlin is seeking unspecified damages. The suit did not name the museum itself, which is run by its namesake nonprofit and is building the museum on county-owned land at 1075 Biscayne Boulevard.

This latest action brings the tally of lawsuits against the museum’s design team to four, including ones from Suffolk, Baker Concrete Construction and Formrite Construction. In 2014, Suffolk was fired from the project and replaced by Skanska USA. The museum’s board was also sacked by the Frost family earlier this year following a severe fundraising shortfall, throwing the project into financial uncertainty and prompting a $45 million bailout from the county.

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