Courthouse concerns linger

Published 10:26 am Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Concerns surrounding the new Charlotte County courthouse continue to be of discussion.

According to Skanka’s Project Manager Tim Burge, Blair Construction continued to work on punch list items throughout the month of September.

He also said Glave and Holmes architects would be coming by to verify after punch list items were completed.

“There are still some outstanding items on the punch list …” said Burge. However, he said the list is getting very short now.

Blair is also continuing to work on close out documents.

He said pricing is also being reviewed for some of the added items in the courthouse.

In August, Skanska’s Project Manager Tim Burge revealed costs for the new courthouse exceeded the original $13.9 million budget by $125,000.

During that time, he said “during this process of the project, we’ve tried to manage the budget to the $13.9 million and we’ve came real close,” said Burge. “Some of the issues we’ve had is … some things that have come up … things that just come up whether it be something’s not working here or something’s not working there … different things that do come up during construction.”

Low water pressure at the courthouse is still a concern, according to Burge. “I received an email from the engineer yesterday. He said they still think there’s a valve closed …”

“I disagree,” said Burge. “But, I’m not an engineer. I think I have a solution, but I’m not an engineer.”

He said he voiced his opinion but he’s not an engineer.

Red Oak/Wylliesburg Supervisor Kay Pierantoni questioned who’s problem the low water pressure was.

“We had a contract with them to build this building,” she said.

“The engineers have designed the system to work with the existing conditions we have in the county,” said Burge. “The water pressure we have … it’s supposed to work, according to them.”

He said the contractor’s did a substitution of the original storage tank that was reviewed by engineers and was supposed to work.

“At this point, the pump person is still not off the hook to pay for it …” said Burge.

In August, he said there were complaints at the courthouse about the commodes not flushing.

“Recently, people complained about the commodes not flushing,” Burge said. “The city water pressure is so low … but because the flow of the water coming into the courthouse is not enough, then the pump starts starving for water as its building up the pressure.”

However, he said a booster pump was in place at that time.

“Was there a leak in the courthouse?” asked Bacon/Saxe Supervisor Royal Freeman.

“Not that I’m aware of,” said Burge. “There was some grill sweating in the upper courtroom and they insulated the grills … I’ve not heard of any leaks in the courthouse …”

Burge said additionally, the added lighting in the courtroom has been issued for pricing to be requested.

In August, Burge said the judges requested additional lighting in the Juvenile and Domestic Relations courtroom. “They say it’s not bright enough, even though it was designed to be bright enough …”

He said until punch list items are completed, Blair continues to be assessed a fee of $250 per day.

Pierantoni said, “so three and a half months that the building has been occupied and they’re still working on punch list … that seems unreasonable.”

Burge said all they had to do was charge them $250 per day.

“The contract gave them 45 days to complete the work, they did not make it so that’s when the liquidated damages started,” he said.

Pierantoni said she would also like to understand a general big picture concerning the charges for additional courthouse items.

“So there’s still two big issues and these sound pretty big, low water pressure flow issues and you have some added lighting in the J&D courtroom,” said Aspen/Phenix Supervisor Donna Fore.

When asked by Fore how much the lighting would cost, Burge said he did not have the price back yet.

He said the lighting price is included in the additional $125,000 approved over the original $13.9 million courthouse budget.