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Construction Activity at Chancery Update

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Construction Activity at Chancery Update

October 3, 2016

To Parishes and Friends of the Diocese of Oakland,

This communication is to give you an update on the construction and design issues at the Cathedral Center that we first reported last fall.  These issues include water intrusion at various locations and excessive deflection or sagging of floor slabs in the Chancery, rectory and parking garage.  The Cathedral of Christ the Light, which is a structurally separate building is generally unaffected.

Last fall we closed the B1 level of the parking garage to minimize further deflection and relocated employee, event center and weekend Mass parking to the adjacent Kaiser Center parking garage.  Since then, we have  completed a number of interim repairs to assure the continued safety of Cathedral Center occupants and visitors, including modifying fire doors so they shut properly, clearing obstructed fire sprinkler heads, and making temporary leak and plumbing repairs.

At the same time we have taken these corrective measures, as part of our legal action against the designers and contractors, our legal team and expert consultants under the direction of the Cathedral board of directors have thoroughly documented the construction and design issues we have discovered.  Because multiple companies and suppliers were involved in the design and construction, the research necessary to establish accountability for the issues we have identified is time-consuming and complex.

Over the next several months, additional testing and investigative work, which will be visible to employees and visitors, will be conducted.  This investigative work is required to determine the causes of the construction and design issues and to develop corrective actions to address these issues.  This work will involve drilling and removal of surface materials from various locations in the walls and floors, cutting and removing portions of the plaza surface to expose underlying conditions, and the use of specialized equipment to determine the causes of water intrusion at various locations.  

The testing and investigation work will be conducted by a licensed general contractor and documented by our expert consultants.  All work will be carefully managed to ensure the safety of occupants and visitors and to minimize interfering with Cathedral, Chancery, Parish and event center activities to the greatest extent possible.  Small areas of the plaza and Chancery, rectory and parking garage may be temporarily closed while work is underway.

The process to establish legal accountability for construction and design issues is time-consuming and complex.  I want to assure you we are doing our utmost to address the construction issues thoroughly and expeditiously.  The Diocese remains committed to legal action to ensure that the responsible parties pay for the necessary corrective work.

In the meantime, we apologize for the inconvenience of off-site parking and any further inconvenience caused by the testing work in the coming weeks.  We are confident in the talented team of specialists working on our behalf. I personally want to thank Cathedral board of directors member Bill Utic, a licensed civil engineer and retired PG&E building management executive, who has volunteered countless hours to oversee this work for the Diocese.

Thank you for your patience and support as we work together to address these issues. 

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

Very Reverend George Mockel
Vicar General
Chair of the Catholic Cathedral Corporation of the East Bay