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Engineer on troubled Langford building unqualified: regulatory body

Brian McClure ‘erroneously believed that his prior experience qualified him to design Danbrook One’
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The structural engineer for the troubled Danbrook One rental building in Langford’s downtown core was unqualified for the job, according to an order issued by Engineers and Geoscientists of BC. (Black Press Media file photo)

The structural engineer for the troubled Danbrook One apartment building in Langford was not qualified for the job, according to Engineers and Geoscientists BC.

In a disciplinary order published by the regulatory body on Nov. 3 and effective Oct. 1, Brian McClure received an interim practice restriction that places strict independent oversight on his work. He was found to have made a “critical error in judgement” in believing he had the required knowledge and experience to design a building such as Danbrook One.

The residential building on Claude Road has sat without tenants since it was evacuated days before Christmas 2019, after four months of near-full occupancy, due to “dangerous” structural defects.

McClure told investigators during a June 3 interview that prior to his work on the project, he had only ever designed wood framed residential buildings no taller than five storeys, and concrete residential buildings no taller than two storeys.

He had also designed steel studs and reviewed structural designs for high-rise reinforced concrete buildings.

“Mr. McClure erroneously believed that his prior experience qualified him to design Danbrook One,” investigators wrote in their order. “(He) did not make even the minimum effort to rectify his shortcomings before beginning or during his work on Danbrook One, which should have included properly conducted reviews and independent reviews of the design drawings.”

In his interview, McClure also told investigators he did not design the building’s core as he “did not believe he was qualified to do so,” and instead authenticated structural design drawings prepared by someone else whose identity was redacted in the order.

McClure did, however, design the core footing of the building, something he said in hindsight he should not have done as he was not qualified.

READ MORE: Case of troubled Langford high-rise heading to civil court

Investigators also found McClure failed to have sufficient field reviews of the building’s concrete work, providing reports for only 17 reviews, far below the industry standard 45 to 55 reviews for a building of this type. No design reviews were conducted prior to the start of construction, which McClure attributed to a lack of staff at his firm at the time.

While the full investigation into McClure’s work on the building remains ongoing, an interim practice restriction has been ordered, requiring documented reviews of his work by an engineer outside Sorensen Trilogy Structural Engineering Solutions.

Centurion Apartment Properties bought the 90-suite building, Langford’s tallest, in August 2019 and said previously it was unaware of any structural issues. It quickly filled the building with tenants.

But four months later, the City of Langford revoked the occupancy permit based on recommendations from a new engineering report. Every tenant was required to find other housing.

Centurion said it was blindsided by the move.

Unbeknownst to them – and to the tenants of 86 occupied suites – people had been asking questions about the seismic stability of the building since construction began in 2018.

Centurion filed a lawsuit in October 2020 against DB Services, Loco Investments, Sorensen Trilogy Structural Engineering Solutions and the City of Langford seeking compensation for losses and expenses on the basis of negligence from each party. The case has not yet been heard in court.

In an email to Black Press Media, McClure said due to ongoing litigation he is unable to provide comment on the order beyond saying “we are complying with the requirements of the order and that third party engineers are reviewing my projects.”

READ MORE: Langford dips into $400K emergency fund to help displaced Danbrook One tenants

READ MORE: Still ‘unreasonable’ for Langford to permit building with no architect, appeal court rules


@JSamanski


justin.samanski-langille@goldstreamgazette.com

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Justin Samanski-Langille

About the Author: Justin Samanski-Langille

I moved coast-to-coast to discover and share the stories of the West Shore, joining Black Press in 2021 after four years as a reporter in New Brunswick.
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