Supreme Court reveals details of municipal legal claim against Joca in auditorium saga

The work remains suspended as the local council starts the process to find a third construction company to complete this much-vaunted project.

Friday 13th May 2022 – Mike Smith
Source: original article – Carlos López (Xàbia AL DÍA)

The Chamber for Administrative Disputes at the Supreme Court of Justice of the Comunidad Valenciana (TSJCV) has confirmed the three rulings of Xàbia Council relating to the construction company Joca, which began work on the much-vaunted municipal auditorium but abandoned construction citing problems with the project. However, it also recognised that the Madrid company was right to highlight errors that it had detected in the contract.

In an order dated March 11th of this year, to which Xàbia AL DÍA has had access, judge Edilberto José Narbón Láinez reviewed the appeal filed by Xàbia Council against the order of the Provincial Court last year which he considered partly as a lawsuit from Joca, in legal terms, responding to its requests about errors in the project, but rejecting the financial compensation of 371,000 euros, incurred after the cancellation of the contract for non-compliance.

The review criticized the magistrates of the Provincial Court for making the mistake of not assessing the reports in full, referring specifically to the appeals made by Joca from the beginning about seismic risk studies contained in the project draft. From the outset, the Madrid-based construction company claimed that the details were incorrect and should have been substantiated more. The local council and construction management rejected their appeals, with one exception.

However, after studying the documentation submitted by both parties, the judge at the TSJCV stressed that, in the case of a public building with a capacity of 524 people, it should be classified for the purposes of earthquake-resistant construction standards “as a building of special importance”, adding that “the increase in the cost of having the building (so) would have been 1666.25 euros, 0.06% of the total cost of the project”.

But he adds that “in case of doubt on the part of the administration, they had to assume to modify the project on this point, of great relevance in case of earthquake and of very low economic cost”.

In another part of the TSJCV order, the Chamber analyzed the other two reasons given by Joca for suspending the work, namely deficiencies in air conditioning and lighting. The judge concluded that the first issue would produce a budget deficit of 82% and the second would incur an extra cost of 1%, both of which were not of sufficient magnitude to totally suspend construction. The company laid down tools on April 28th 2018 but didn’t officially announce a suspension of activity until May 14th 2018, during which it should have completed one-third of the project. A report on March 9th stated that just 1.49% of the work had been executed.

The judge confirmed that, despite declared facts, Xàbia Council had every right to apply the cause of termination of the Contracts Law for having breached the essential obligation to perform the service demanded by the contract and abandoning it.

Next month, it will be two years since work of the municipal auditorium was suspended. Two years since controversy over the project budget initially halted construction and then saw a second company, Proyeccón Galicía, withdraw at the end of the last year.

The local government recently announced that the contract with the director of the work had been terminated and that a new public tender process would be initiated to find a third company to complete the project – which will include the issues identified and validated by the courts – based on what already exists on the construction site.

The saga continues …

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