County Requiring Inspections Of CityCenter Work

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Clark County is requiring additional inspections to ensure that construction completed at casino giant MGM Mirage Inc.'s massive CityCenter project is structurally sound.

The order came in a letter sent earlier this week from county Development Services Director Ron Lynn to MGM Mirage Vice President
Bill Ham. It follows the discovery in January of structural defects in work at the Harmon Hotel & Spa, one of seven towers being built in the $8.6 billion casino project on the Las Vegas Strip.

Phil Rosenquist, an assistant county manager, said the order for further inspections on the site is a cautionary move.

"At this point in time we have no reason to think that there's an issue at any other parts of CityCenter," Rosenquist said. "We just want to be sure."

A review of the Harmon found that a third-party private inspector repeatedly missed problems with the installation of reinforcing steel in concrete beams, officials said.

Rosenquist said 62 reports by private inspector Converse Consultants were found to be incorrect. Converse also has contracts to inspect portions of CityCenter's Mandarin, Veer and Vdara towers.

Clark County banned the two Converse inspectors who filed the 62 reports from further work, Rosenquist said, and levied more than $20,000 in penalties. The county has ordered that the reinspection
work will be done by a third-party inspector other than Converse.

MGM Mirage spokesman Gordon Absher said the reinspections should
reassure the public that buildings at CityCenter are sound.

"We're now working on complying with the most recent request of having the engineers provide a verification plan," Absher said.
"We're confident this validation as outlined by the county and executed by engineers of record will satisfy everyone's concern."

CityCenter Holdings LLC, a partnership between MGM Mirage and Dubai World subsidiary Infinity World Development Corp., announced that the Harmon would open in 2010 at 25 floors, without the top 22 floors and about 200 residential condominium as originally planned.

The rest of CityCenter - including a 150,000-square-foot casino, retail, luxury hotels and other condominiums - remains on schedule to open by December, company officials said.

The county gave MGM Mirage three weeks to submit an engineer's report on tests of reinforcing steel, welds and bolting at the project. Problems will require engineering review and "possible remediation," in addition to more structural testing, according to the letter sent dated Feb. 2.

Converse has performed the bulk of the private inspection work at CityCenter, with responsibility for overseeing technical aspects of construction such as welding, structural bolting and high-strength concrete.

After the defects were found, Converse paid a $16,500 penalty and inspector Joseph Laurente paid a $1,125 fee, county spokesman Dan Kulin said. Inspector Scott Edberg has not paid the $3,525 he was assessed.

Two county Development Services Department employees oversee the
work of about 50 private inspectors at CityCenter, officials said.

The county has filed a complaint against Converse with the State Board of Engineers and Land Surveyors. It also filed complaints with the State Contractors Board against Perini Building Co., the general contractor for CityCenter, and against Pacific Coast Steel, a subcontractor that did the work at issue.

Perini spokeswoman Lesley Pittman said company officials believe design conflicts were involved.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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