Clark Construction is looking for new companies to finish electrical work at two multi-million dollar campus construction sites, after the former contractor suddenly declared bankruptcy, threatening to delay the projects.
Before revealing its financial troubles in July, Truland Systems was the primary electrical contractor for renovations in Ross Hall and the construction of the Science and Engineering Hall.
University spokesman Kurtis Hiatt said since Clark plans to find a replacement, Truland’s bankruptcy likely will not delay the opening of the $275 million Science and Engineering Hall, slated for 2015.
Electrical contractors like Truland are tasked with planning and installing electrical wiring in buildings. The bankruptcy cost Clark about $7,000 a day, according to court documents, and Truland is responsible for any costs related to delays under its contract with Clark.
Paul Gogulski, a construction consultant, said while Clark seeks a new contractor, delays are still possible.
He said when a contractor goes bankrupt during a project, bonding companies are brought in to evaluate the financial state of the replacement contractor.
“The bonding company has to agree with what you’re doing,” he said, which takes time.
Truland, which boasted about 1,000 employees, is also facing a lawsuit that claims managers failed to give workers enough notice before their termination and the liquidation of the company.
Employees allege that Truland violated the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires companies to give their employees 60-days notice in writing if their termination stems from the closing of a plant or mass layoffs.
Economics professor Anthony Yezer said filing for bankruptcy protects companies like Truland from losing their assets. If a company did not declare bankruptcy “other people would run in and seize equipment, and next thing you know all the directors are fighting over assets,” he said.
Yezer said GW likely had no way of knowing the contractor’s financial state because Clark, not the University, had signed a contract with Truland.
“General contractors are hiring based on competency to do contracting, but they might not evaluate their fiscal situation,” he said.