City joins lawsuit over animal shelter’s roof shingles

City joins lawsuit over animal shelter’s roof shingles

The roof of the Pawtucket Animal Shelter is in tough shape, but city officials now believe they’ll have it replaced at no cost to the city. (Breeze photo by Charles Lawrence)

PAWTUCKET – City officials are waiting for a reply on their claim against the manufacturer of the shingles used on the Pawtucket Animal Shelter’s roof a decade ago.

The city filed the claim in September after a resident brought it to officials’ attention that there was a settlement related to shingles from Building Products of Canada Corp., or BP.

“While we anticipate verification that the manufacturer will be responsible for the replacement, we expect that this will be a slow process,” said Public Works Director Eric Earls this week. “We thank the resident who brought the class action lawsuit to our attention, as this may result in the coverage of the materials and labor for our animal shelter’s roof at no cost to our hardworking taxpayers.”

The shingles have failed on many applications elsewhere, so Pawtucket submitted materials to be part of the class action lawsuit against the manufacturer.

According to Parks and Recreation Director John Blais, the idea that the animal shelter’s shingles might be tied to a warranty issue and settlement was brought up by a summer camp staff supervisor whose father is a roofer.

“The Pawtucket Animal Shelter is a true asset to our community as it provides temporary care and housing for stray and/or abandoned animals found throughout our city,” said Earls. “The (DPW) has entered a class action lawsuit against Building Products of Canada Corp. as related to the BP Organic Shingles Settlement for shingles used on the shelter’s roof.”

City Councilor Mark Wildenhain said in August that he wanted an investigation into why the roof at the shelter in Slater Park has deteriorated so badly just 11 years after the facility was built. The shelter is named the Paul J. Wildenhain Memorial Animal Shelter in honor of the councilman’s late father, also a former city councilor.

“It has been brought to my attention that the roof on the dog pound is in horrendous shape,” Wildenhain said at an Aug. 7 meeting. He asked at that time for the council’s property committee to research the shingles and contract details, among other matters, to make sure taxpayers weren’t put on the hook for the replacement work.

Wildenhain this week is thanking Blais and others for their proactive work in trying to get the roof repaired with no extra financial burden on taxpayers.

It wasn’t immediately clear this week exactly how much of the $2.2 million that originally went into the shelter was invested into its roof.

The Breeze reported back in 2011 that the $2.2 million shelter, the city’s newest building at the time, was being described as Pawtucket’s most inefficient public building. The shelter was found to have been pumping warm air out in exchange for cold air. It was built with a one-loop floor heating coil system heating both the inside floors and exterior kennel floors, the equivalent of trying to run a home baseboard heating system through the outside walls while trying to maintain the same temperature inside.

Still, the shelter is viewed by leaders of other communities as one of the best in Rhode Island. Officials from North Providence are planning a tour of the facility as they plan their own new animal shelter.

A website for the shingle settlement with BP, , states that a settlement was reached in 2013 on BP’s organic shingles. The settlement applies to those who own homes, buildings or other structures in Canada or the U.S. whose roofs contain or contained BP organic shingles.