Two-storage headache has CBH chasing $23M

Liz Wells November 8, 2023

Kaefer has successfully completed works for CBH in the past, including sealing the pictured storage at Coorow, but CBH claims sealing work undertaken at Esperance and Northampton have not been completed to standard by the contractor. Photo: Kaefer

WESTERN Australia’s Co-operative Bulk Handling Limited is seeking $23.45 million from Kaefer Integrated Services Pty Ltd in relation to work carried out at CBH sheds at Esperance and Northampton.

In a writ of summons lodged with the Supreme Court of Western Australian on October 27, CBH as the plaintiff states it engaged Kaefer in early 2021 to carry out remedial work at both sites.

This involved refurbishment of the Esperance Grain Terminal Annexe on Harbour Road for use as a sealed storage, and the cladding and sealing of the shed at Northampton, 50km north of Geraldton, to be completed by September 2021.

The writ states neither site by October 2021 passed pressure tests that signified sealing to standard, and the parties agreed Kaefer would correct defects and seal both sites as required after they had been used to receive grain from the 2021-22 harvest.

In its writ, CBH states Kaefer in mid-2022 presented it with a program of work which was accepted for Esperance to satisfy pressure-testing requirements by November 2022.

CBH claims these were unmet as of May 2023, and pursuant to the contract, CBH in June required Kaefer to make good defects on the Esperance job within five business days.

In light of the Esperance situation, CBH did not give notice to Kaefer to remobilise to Northampton, where CBH elected to accept the defects in the works with adjustment of the contract price.

Kaefer was notified of this via a letter dated June 15, and the contractor has allegedly disputed the entitlement of CBH to act as it did on Northampton, and to give it five days’ notice to rectify Esperance.

The writ states defects of works under both the Esperance and Northampton contracts are incapable of remediation without CBH engaging a new contractor to remove and replace all roof and wall cladding, flashings, gutters, downpipes and sealing materials installed by Kaefer.

CBH as the plaintiff said it has also lost the use of the Esperance facility for the purposes of storing and fumigating grain, both in the period of Kaefer’s failure to complete works, and for the duration of rectification works by others.

It is claiming $13.2M on the Esperance contract, and $9.1M for Northampton, plus costs, to total $23.45M.

As the defendant, Kaefer has 10 days after service of the writ to respond, or risk judgement being made on evidence from the plaintiff alone.

Upset on track record

Both the CBH and Kaefer websites indicate that Kaefer has successfully completed works for CBH in recent years, mostly in CBH’s Geraldton zone.

Jobs include 2021 refurbishment work at CBH’s Geraldton Terminal, with Kaefer as the lead contractor, and 2020 shutdowns at CBH’s Geraldton and Kwinana terminals.

Also for CBH, Kaefer has undertaken sealing works at Coorow in 2019, supplied and installed new chutes at Perenjori in 2018, and installed a conveyor system and associated works in 2017 at Moonyoonooka.

CBH and Kaefer were contacted for comment on the civil case.

“CBH does not comment on any legal matters currently in court,” a CBH spokesperson said.


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