In 2006 construction began on the MGM Resort’s Harmon Hotel by Tutor Perini, an established General Contractor in the construction industry. The Harmon construction, which originally was to contain a spa and condominiums on the upper floors, was unexpectedly halted in 2008. After an investigation, it was found that the sub-contractor in charge of installing the structural rebar into support columns was negligent. It turns out the steel rebar was either nonexistent or improperly placed. To make matters even worse, another sub-contractor in charge of daily inspections, Converse Consultants, was guilty of falsifying inspection reports regarding the structural integrity of the Harmon.
What ensued from this debacle was a huge finger pointing match between Tutor Perini, Foster & Partners; the architecture firm that designed the building, and MGM Resorts International over who was at fault. Tutor Perini claims, “Portions of the structural drawings, as designed and permitted, contained elements of reinforcing steel that could not be installed as drawn”. After much lament in 2010, MGM scrapped its plans of a redesign and additional corrective work for a complete demolition of the structure. After 4 years of botched construction and a price tag of $295 million dollars, the Harmon will never see a return on its investment made by MGM; but more importantly will not be enjoyed by the people of Las Vegas.
The initial question I have for MGM is: was the proper analysis done to support Tutor Perini’s ability to start and complete such a project? Furthermore, did Tutor Perini properly screen the sub-contractors for their abilities as well? Take for instance the claims by Tutor Perini regarding the incorrect drawings; why wasn’t this foreseen by them in the initial stages of the project? As for the steel rebar company, Pacific Steel, did they not notice the inconsistences as well? After all, they did bid on the project. To me this sounds like a lack of expertise on the part of Tutor Perini and Pacific Steel. To cover up for this lack of knowledge regarding the initial conditions of the project, Converse Consulting falsified inspection reports to ensure, “business as usual,” a blatant ethical violation in my eyes.
In conclusion, I believe it was the failure to perceive the initial conditions of the project and the lack of expertise on the part of Tutor Perini and the sub-contractors that caused the failure of the Harmon from being built.