Church seeks $1M to replace leaky copper roof

Kelly Holleran Aug. 21, 2012, 4:49am

St. Andrews Presbyterian Church

A Presbyterian church in Beaumont alleges it needs to replace a $1 million copper roof claiming architects failed to render accurate plans.

St. Andrews Presbyterian Church filed a lawsuit Aug. 6 in Jefferson County District Court against Amtech Roofing Consultants, Amtech Building Sciences, Easley Roofing and Sheet Metal, Easley Receivables, Easley Construction, Dohn LaBiche, Steinman and Associates Architects, Labiche Architectural Group and AR Contractors.

In its complaint, the church claims it hired Amtech and LaBiche, who worked for Steinman, to design the roof. However, during the design phase, the principal in Steinman died, according to the complaint.

Despite the death, LaBiche continued to serve as the project's architect, representing that he and Amtech together could provide competent services to design the copper roof that the church desired, the suit states.

After accepting a proposal presented by LaBiche and Amtech, St. Andrews entered into a contract with Easley to re-roof the church and its multiple buildings, the complaint says. By Aug. 3, 2000, the work was finished.

However, less than two years later, the church claims the roof began to leak.

"The leaks worsened during the summer," the suit states. "LaBiche, Amtech and Easley Roofing were contacted. Not until November 2002 did Easley Roofing send someone to check the leaks. At that time, Easley Roofing made some caulking repairs and informed St. Andrews that the leak problems were appropriately resolved."

However, by 2006, the church again began to experience significant leaking issues, according to the complaint. This time, Easley Roofing refused to address St. Andrews's concerns, the suit states.

In fact, it sold all of its assets to A R Contractors, which immediately began operating out of the same place of business as Easley Roofing, the complaint says.

"It is believed these transactions were fraudulent and for the purpose of avoiding any potential liability for the roofing materials and work provided to St. Andrews," the suit states.

After experiencing ongoing leaks and after receiving no help from the defendants, St. Andrews claims it decided to hire an independent consultant to determine the source of its problems.

"St. Andrews learned on August 2, 2012, that the contract and its specifications were not properly followed and that contract terms that were followed were improper for a copper roof," the suit states. "More alarming, due to poor design, poor workmanship, and poor materials, water damage to St. Andrews is severe and the entire $1 million roof will need to be removed, water damage remedied, and a new roof installed."

In its complaint, the church alleges negligence, gross negligence and violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act against the defendants.

It seeks actual and exemplary damages, plus pre- and post-judgment interest, costs and other relief the court deems just.

The defendants have not yet filed a response to the complaint.

Kenneth W. Lewis of Bush Lewis in Beaumont will be representing the church.

Judge Milton Shuffield, 136th District Court, has been assigned to the case.

Case No. D192-781

More News