By Steve Large

PLACER COUNTY (CBS13) — Placer County is suing the people who built the new headquarters for the sheriff’s department, probation department and district attorney as they say the building is falling apart.

Just seven years after it was built, damage from structural problems at the Auburn Justice Center has even crept into the sheriff’s department evidence room. A county spokesperson says no evidence has been compromised.

Rob Unholz is the Placer County capital improvements manager. He worked in the facilities department for 25 years, but he says he’s never found an issue like this.

Water leaks have forced the county to peel away entire sections of sheetrock and stack garbage cans on standby for the next rainstorm.

The building’s unique design includes brick, metal, plaster and translucent panels. The complicated combination required detailed construction.

“This shouldn’t have occurred and you’re always concerned whether the outside weather protection of a facility is showing vulnerability,” Unholz said.

Now the county is filing a lawsuit, saying they’ve had experts check into the cause of the leaks. The civil complaint against the company hired to build the justice center alleges, “The leaks have been caused by improper installation of certain windows and roofing, and improper design of the roof and gutter.”

The county alleges it’s spent $1.7 million to fix the construction work and the lawsuit hopes to recoup those costs.


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