In Texas, demolishing the wrong house will cost you a mere $10k

In Texas, demolishing the wrong house will cost you a mere $10k

Fort Worth contract put city on hook for coordinating with property owners

Written by
Edited by Michael Morisy

After one Fort Worth contractor tore down two wrong houses in a row in July, MuckRock requested files on the city’s demolition contractors. The city sent back more than 200 pages of contracts, project specs and task orders. Luckily, the company has plenty of liability coverage.

In December 2012, the Fort Worth City Council approved as-needed contracts with three firms for demolition work. These three contractors - Intercon Environmental, Garrett Demolition and Lindamood Demolition - were selected from a field of seven submissions based on a weighted ranking of references, subcontractor qualifications and legal history, among other criteria. Garrett Demolition, the contractor whose workers razed both incorrect houses in July, ranked second overall in that ranking:

According to the non-exclusive contracts, each firm was eligible to submit a bid for demolition projects. The two errant homes were torn down as part of a larger project that included 22 total properties (and one chicken coop). Garrett Demolition won the bid for the entire project at $109,569.

For the properties in question - 9708 Watercress Drive and 1308 Lagonda Avenue -Garrett quoted a demolition price of $6,070 and $4,316, respectively. Garrett was awarded the project in June, having beaten out Lindamood’s bid of $141,500. (For what it’s worth, Lindamood’s price for the two houses was $6,800 and $5,700, respectively.)

On July 11 and 12, Garrett tore down the houses next door to or behind the houses on the project task order. According to the contract signed with each contractor, the city was responsible for coordinating with any tenants.

City services clause

While the city is examining how exactly two houses were torn down in error in as many days, their contracts do lay out liability insurance requirements in case Garrett Demolition is found responsible for the errors. According to the firm’s filing, its umbrella liability rests at $5 million.

Garrett Demolition has also won a number of other demolition projects, some of which are likely on hold given the city’s freeze pending further inspection.

Local media reported that a code officer brought the first error to a supervisor’s attention, but that nothing was done until the second demolition raised eyebrows. MuckRock has requested the report of the first demolition from the Fort Worth Purchasing Department -

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