Epic condo association sues developer, architect and subcontractors over fire safety system

Epic Residence and Ugo Colombo
Epic Residence and Ugo Colombo

Another prominent developer is facing allegations of installing a faulty fire sprinkler system in a South Florida luxury condo tower. This time, litigation surrounds Ugo Colombo’s CMC Group’s Epic Residences in downtown Miami.

In a lawsuit filed in Miami-Dade Circuit Court last month, the Epic West Condominium Association accuses CMC, architecture firm RVL Architecture & Design and two subcontractors of breach of statutory implied warranties, breach of contract, negligence and violations of the Florida building code over alleged construction defects in the 342-unit tower, which also includes a 415-room hotel. The building is located at 200 Biscayne Boulevard Way along the Miami River.

Specifically, the lawsuit alleges CMC and RVL allowed the subcontractors to install a fire sprinkler system that is composed of incompatible materials and components that will cause it to degrade and fail over time. The lawsuit also states that it was widely known in the construction industry that the materials were incompatible when construction of the Epic began in 2006. The building was completed two years later.

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A spokesperson for CMC Group declined comment. A representative for RVL and the attorney for the condo association did not return phone and email messages seeking comment.

In a separate lawsuit filed last month, the condo association of the Marquis Miami also sued that building’s developer, citing the same problem with the sprinkler system. In May, the condo association for Aquazul in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea sued developer the Related Group and its subcontractor Tyco International. In that complaint, the Aquazul condo association alleges that Tyco knowingly connected steel pipes and PVC pipes that were incompatible. The lawsuit states that the steel pipes were coated with a material that caused pinhole leaks, cracks and blowouts if hooked up to the PVC pipes.

The Epic was one of the last condo towers built during the last real estate cycle before the recession.