Police HQ repair tab up to $1.5M

Fri, 06/06/2008 - 1:16pm
By: John Munford

City sues original project architect

While work is being completed on the exterior renovations to the Peachtree City police headquarters, the city is having to extend the lease on its temporary facility by three months.

The work is being financed by the city, with one $800,000 15-year note taken out last year and another loan necessary this year to finish the job.

The second loan is estimated to be $697,000, but some of the final costs have not come in yet.

That puts it close to $1.5 million, just under the $1.8 million it cost to have the structure built before it opened in 2001.

The city hopes to have the second loan included in a refinancing of the original loan on the facility in order to get a better interest rate on that loan, said Finance Director Paul Salvatore.

Meanwhile the city has officially sued the original architect on the project, Don Cobb and Associates of Peachtree City, claiming a faulty design of the exterior walls and the building’s air plenum contributed to the moisture problems experienced at the building.

The suit contends that the firm falsely and negligently represented its drawings and design as being consistent with the normal standard of care when in fact they were not.

The suit was filed along with an affidavit from an architect that has reviewed the building and its design documents. In that affidavit, Ronald A. Strohm said the wall systems design were “deficient and defective” and did not include exterior flashing and weeps to “provide an easy path for moisture to exit the wall cavity.”

Also named in the suit is company principal Don Cobb, listed as an individual defendant from the company.

The suit was filed in Fayette County State Court May 22.

Monitoring wells on the site have shown that the moisture problems are most likely not due to a rising groundwater table.

The original contractor on the project, Leslie Construction of Fayetteville, has agreed in a settlement with the city to do $168,000 in work for free and will charge the city for another $177,000 in work on the project. All the new work will be supervised by the new architect on the project, the Leo A. Daly firm.

In addition to replacing the exterior of the building, which has been blamed for allowing the moisture problems on the interior, the project also involves re-grading the site to force stormwater away from the building’s perimeter.

City Manager Bernie McMullen said the hope is for the work to be finalized in the first part of December so the police department can relocate back to the building the later part of the month.

Costs are still being worked on for a few items such as the mold remediation and additional architecture fees. Also, the city has identified an additional $119,000 in items that can be financed through the loan instead of taken out of the city’s budget, including shelving, storage and a rewiring of the building’s security system, officials said this week.

City Finance Director Paul Salvatore said he hoped the city could save money on the existing portion of the original loan to build the headquarters because of the lower interest rates.

The 5.5 acre site was purchased in 1999 for $140,000 from Pathway Communities. At the time, an environmental survey of the tract showed there were no contaminants present in soil samples taken from the site.

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Submitted by w8aminute on Mon, 06/09/2008 - 10:51am.

During the construction of this building,the inspectors included Police Staff, Friends, the old City engineer and others that had no construction knowledge whatsoever. The city signed off that they had recieved the building and then paid in full the contractor which I believe means that they were satisfied. The "armchair quaterbacks" that make these hidious comments about the building still probably don't know the whole story and the writer of the column pretty much told it. The structure of the building was not questioned, the roof didn't appear to leak but there was mold present creating the problem.

Now, if you have a degree in science or whatever subject deemed proper to make an accurate assessment, then stand up and shout to the world that you actually have an affirmative answer for the problem, contact the city and architect of your findings and pat yourself on the back for single handed solving the problem.

I am willing to bet that you are an Obama follower trying to change America in which he called "the greatest country in the world.

Go figure ???

Submitted by 30YearResident on Sat, 06/07/2008 - 1:17pm.

But doesn't the city and county have this massive "Inspection" department that sucks up a large amount of taxpayer dollars?
Isn't there any liability or responsibility belonging to that group? After all, they provided regular inspections and signed off on each phase.

Typical government bureaucrat, it's everybody's fault but theirs. Guess they learned from our Congress and Senate to throw the blame anywhere but don't ever accept it.

yardman5508's picture
Submitted by yardman5508 on Sat, 06/07/2008 - 3:09pm.

since I am pretty sure that the City does not have liability in this matter (a lawyer might be able to better answer that). As for responsibility, I totally agree with you. If there is a problem with the design then, most definitely, the "engineering department' must bear a degree of responsibility. And I am sure that the companies involved will try to weasel out of the problem by saying that what they did was not illegal or outside what they were hired to do. As citizens, then, it is OUR responsibility to make sure that these problems do not re-occur by intelligent application of our oversight abilities. Keep the faith.

Even a dead fish can go with the flow.

Submitted by tc on Sat, 06/07/2008 - 1:24pm.

I am constantly amazed by PTC's ability to pay for someone else's messes. Can someone explain why we are paying Lesie even a reduced amount to fix this problem? If they are professional contractors, they should know the best practices. To pretend to be ignoranct and cut a deal with the city to earn over $100,000 and not be prosecuted defies logic. Who are they buddies with? As the old saying goes we probably just need to follow the money. Sad, sad, sad. And criminal. Certainly that money would have at least covered some of the salaries of personnel who are now being cut from the PTC budget. City council, are you listening??????

carbonunit52's picture
Submitted by carbonunit52 on Sun, 06/08/2008 - 10:19am.

Leslie is demonstrating a lot of common sense and class evidenced by the agreement that they have made with PTC regarding the police station building. I would be willing to bet that Leslie personnel did express concerns over these issues, and were told, in effect, "you are not the professionals on the job". Now they are "eating" $168,000.00 on this settlement, and I am assuming that they are doing the rest for basically costs. The city inspectors signed off on all of the work, however it is unheard of for a government inspector to assume any responsibility for bad results anywhere; it is not even mentioned.
I commend Leslie on working hard on a solution to a problem that they did not create, and I wish others would see that the contractor is not at fault on this project, and is cooperating in a fashion that is beneficial to the city.

Submitted by sageadvice on Sun, 06/08/2008 - 1:23pm.

Leslie doesn't know shoddy building? They knew. It was accept it or not take the job!

They were the only "professionals" on the job every day!

As to inspectors-----industry never has been able to inspect-in quality---it has to be built that way or some gets by. Those guys make just enough to eat and no supervisor does an audit on them!

carbonunit52's picture
Submitted by carbonunit52 on Sun, 06/08/2008 - 1:51pm.

There were moisture problems with the building, and I do not recall anyone saying the actual construction was shoddy. I will repeat my take on it: the moisture problem is a result of condensation, which is a result of a poor design and poor engineering. The systems that are being worked on are being replaced by different systems, not repaired to original specifications. It is truly amazing how much liquid water can condense from water vapor at (unintentionally) well designed dew points. I have seen ceiling systems that you would have bet were experiencing a roof leak when it was actually condensation at work.

Submitted by MYTMITE on Fri, 06/06/2008 - 6:20pm.

This thing has been a boondoggle from the beginning. Why are we paying Leslie for anything? It is always made to sound like they are doing us a big favor for us to pay them to repair what they were at least partially responsible for. Anyone responsible for this mess should be paying the whole thing. It was stupid to try to make repairs on this property anyway. What assurance do we have that the mold, etc wil not return. Our police department should not have to take the chance on being exposed, once again, to something so dangerous. Repairs are already up to what the original building cost and who knows where it will end. How could these potential problems not be discovered before or is this just another one of those sweetheart deals that seem to happen here with great frequency? We will be paying forever on something that has no guarantee of being safe. Another stupid move by the powers that be.

Submitted by sageadvice on Fri, 06/06/2008 - 1:31pm.

Leslie to only charge $177,000 to finish the building?

Why then will it cost over 1 and 1/2 million?

Every time I read one of these things I get a stomach ache! I can't understand them! Where is the $119,000?

Where is the interest cost on the $1.5 million?

How much do we still owe on the original building?
How much have we paid on the original building?
How much have we paid for rent where now located, and for moving there and back?

Are the three stooges doing this to me?

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