May 26 ē 11:22 AM
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Board isnít responsible for new fire hall delays

Dear Editor,

In response to the letter to the editor dated March 5, 2008 authored by Mr. LeVern Tucker, I would like to offer the following.

As to why the fire department has not yet occupied the building is quite simple. The building has yet to meet, as of this writing, the minimum code requirements mandated by the state construction code act. Who is responsible for the delay in completion? If one approaches this question in a logical sense, the fact is there is a construction contract signed by T & W Construction indicating a build time of six months. Completion date of this contract was to be December 2006.

During the course of this project, there were some normal schedule delays such as weather, scheduling of work crews, change orders, etc. As to the Almont Township Board being subject to the criticism of Mr. Tucker as it relates to this project, I will say at no time has the township held up any portion of the building completion.

I will say there were some areas of the building, such as the hose tower roof, electrical transfer switch for the generator and a kitchen stove hood that did experience delays in the decision making process between the architect and the contractor.

However, during the summer of 2006 I was advised by the contractor's foreman for T & W Construction that the roof installation would not be completed as scheduled. The reason given was T & W Construction cancelled the subcontractor for the roof installation and reassigned it to a crew of his own who were presently busy on other unrelated jobs. Much to the dismay of the township when the roof did go on, the ridge cap was not complete and left uncovered, subjecting the building's roof insulation to a heavy rain, saturating much of the fiberglass insulation. Did this cause a substantial delay? You bet it did, as the insulation had to be dried out and a determination made as to its effectiveness in the future. A fault of the township? I think not.

Trying not to be critical or beating a dead horse, there are still issues with the building. At the urging of the building department and building committee members, the township hired a representative from the building manufacturer (CECO) to inspect the roof for proper installation. This report discovered many deficiencies in the roof installation. In order to receive a manufacturer's warranty, the roof required repairs. These repairs have been made according to T & W Construction and the roof will be reinspected in April by CECO Company to determine if it was installed per manufacturer's specifications.

One other major issue is that of water infiltration into the building through the brick wall on the south side of the apparatus bays. This problem is still being investigated as to the cause. The contractor has made attempts to correct it, however the wall continues to leak. A delay caused by the township? No.

Yes, the township is concerned and the fire department anxious to occupy the new fire hall, as are all township residents. The township residents deserve a quality building and this is what the township board is waiting for.

Addressing the purchase of the land for the fire hall appears to be a sore spot with Mr. Tucker as well. In discussion with Almont Township's attorney it was explained that any lands purchased by municipalities first requires an appraisal. Almont Township hired Williams Appraisal Service for this requirement. According to township legal counsel, municipalities must pay the appraised price, no more or no less. This is exactly what the township did. All documents related to this are on file in the township offices.

In the course of this project, it became evident that additional delays could be avoided if certain areas were removed from the contract by agreement. One of these was the landscaping. The contractor awarded the job was the original subcontractor hired by T & W Construction. The bid specifications were amended from that of T & W, hence the cost difference. These specifications went from a bare-bones landscape plan to one that is more appropriate given the scope of the overall project. The decision to award the bid was reviewed by the township attorney in which he found no problems.

Insofar as attorney fees attached to this project, yes, there have been and it's no secret given the problems. Should the township have required a performance bond? Yes it appears so, however the township still has a legal binding contract with the contractor and intends to have the terms of the contract fulfilled.

The Almont Township Board is always subject to public scrutiny as it should be. Those individuals writing letters to the editor pointing fingers with unfounded accusations should have their facts correct or they themselves may appear suspect in their own integrity and purpose.

I personally invite any member of this community to contact myself or any board member if there are questions from the community on this issue or any issue of concern. Thank you.

Gary Groesbeck, Almont Township
March 12, 2008

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