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Jefferson County is not responsible for disputed construction costs at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport after a series of delays and untimely notifications, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday.

The county entered into an agreement with T-Bone Construction, Inc. to perform grading, excavation, and infrastructure work within 70 days of the June 2016 start date. The contract entitled Jeffco to recover money for delays that were the company’s fault. T-Bone had to notify the county within seven days of a delay-causing event, and the company had 10 days after the delay was resolved to request a change order compensating them for the cost.

While working on certain utilities, T-Bone was forced to alter its plans and stop work in November until the obstacles could be addressed. T-Bone would end up submitting nine change orders to Jeffco, and sent a letter in December 2016 requesting $900,000 for delay costs. The county ended T-Bone’s contract in March 2017 and the company sued for Jeffco’s failure to pay the requested amount.

A trial court set aside all but one of T-Bone’s costs, finding that the company had not given timely notice and submittal of charges. The final claim went to a jury trial and T-Bone was victorious.

The company appealed on the other costs, arguing that because the issue with the utilities still existed at the time Jefferson County ended the contract, the 10-day period to request payment had not expired in December 2016 when it sent the letter.

A three-member Court of Appeals panel found that because the intractable issue with the utilities was not a factor until the final delay period, the company needed to submit its costs properly for all of the preceding instances.

“Each episode of delay was its own delay period, with distinct beginning and ending dates and with work performed on the project in between those periods,” wrote Judge Christina F. Gomez in the unpublished opinion. “The delays T-Bone experienced were not continuous, constant, or enduring. Rather, they started and stopped several times.”

The panel further failed to find that the county had waived the 10-day notice period or bore responsibility for the delays in question.

The case is T-Bone v. County of Jefferson.

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