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Waste Water Treatment Plant in
Livingston County; Washtenaw
Community College Morris Lawrence
Building renovations; University of
Michigan, Ann Arbor, chemistry build-
ing and Davidson Hall renovations.
Acrimony Into Harmony
In most cases, said Michael Lawson,
manager of industry affairs for the
Bloomfield Hills-based Construction
Association of Michigan, contracts for
projects the size of the Shul include
clauses stipulating a range of costs.
"It is very common to say, 'If this has
to be done, it'll cost this much; if it does-
n't, it'll cost that much," Lawson said.
Lawson, who has no involvement in
the Shul case, said the disagreement
sounded like a communications problem.
"In the case of the contractor, if he
has submitted change orders and they
haven't been denied, he could assume
that means to go ahead. On the other
hand, they haven't been approved,
either," he said.
In cases like these, he said, "the two
sides have to forget their acrimony and
sit down together."
The crux of the problem seems to
be the haste in which the project was
completed, Lawson said.
"If you mail a letter, and you want it
to get there in three or four days, it
costs 37 cents," he said. "If you send it
by express mail, it'll get there tomor-
row — but it won't cost 37 cents."
Rushing a project frequently means
enormous overtime and express ship-
ping, Lawson said. "Lots of times,
these contractors are doing more than
one project at a time," he said.
"Maybe he can pull three guys off
another project and get it done, work-
ing nights, weekends. So there are
extra administrative costs, too."
Because Shmina has not been fully
paid for his work, the subcontractors
he hired haven't been fully paid either.
The matter never went to arbitra-
tion, and several subcontractors filed
suits with Oakland County Circuit
Court to enforce or foreclose their
construction liens. As of July 2, 10 of
these subcontractors' suits were still
outstanding, along with Shmina's suit
for $1.6 million. These suits will be
withdrawn if the subcontractors work
out settlements with Shmina for
reductions in their payments.
"We are in the process of presenting
the settlement to the contractors,"
Burnstein said. "It's up to the individ-
ual contractor whether they'll accept
that settlement. We've already settled
with a lot of them." ❑
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