Mobile County Commissioners are still mulling over a $235,000 change order to a roofing contract for a project that’s been planned since 2012.

Though they agreed to table a decision until Aug. 11, commissioners were presented with a request from the county’s engineering department to tack extra money on a contract awarded to Team-Craft Roofing for repairs to roof of Government Plaza.

Roof repair

If approved, the change would bring the total of the project aimed at fixing leaks in the roof of the 20-year-old building to $3,410,109. The original request would also extend the contract time by 89 days.

Tyler Martin, the county’s project engineer, said the root of the problem lies in rubber couplings that connect pipes in roof drainage plumbing.

“When the building was first constructed, they used a rubber cupping in a few isolated areas and they really shouldn’t have,” Martin said. “Some of the drains in the center trough area are actually encased within lightweight concrete.”

Martin said part of the proposed change order would remove the concrete covering on the roof and replace the aforementioned couplings with metal pipes that are welded together – ensuring leaks don’t persist.

It’s all part of the 20-year guarantee offered to the county by The Garland Company, the project’s material supplier.

The design-build contract was awarded to Garland, TeamCraft and the design firm Goodwyn, Mills and Cawood, Inc. in 2012.

Some, including County Commissioner Jerry Carl, have questioned why the removal of lightweight concrete on the roof wasn’t included in the original price.

A copy of the original scope of work was provided to Lagniappe from county officials and indeed mentioned the “removal of existing roof and lightweight concrete to structural deck.”

“Originally, the scope of work included removing all that concrete, but once we got into the project, the roofer did some investigation and found all that to be in excellent shape,” Martin said. “They gave us a $20,891 credit to the ordinal contract so the concrete would stay with the exception of that localized area.”

Martin said there was no mention of any plumbing piping in the original scope of work and when asked, he told Carl TeamCraft’s contract was $400,000 less than the next lowest bidder.

In the original $3.1 million contract, an extra $800,000 was included for additional expenses. However, Martin said that allowance was used to repair the roof on the north and south towers.

“The atrium wasn’t the only part that leaked. The north and south towers had leaks too,” Martin said. “Rather than develop a scope of work for the repairs, we just included an allowance to cover the investigation and repairs. So, those have been ongoing.”

The main issue some commissioners took with the change order was timing and TeamCraft’s history with the county.
The company’s work resulted in fires on the roof of Government Plaza in April and May, which Carl discussed during the commission’s July 28 meeting.

“There are two add-ons as far as time extension plus an extra $235,000 and 14 additional days for fire. Does this take into consideration it’s the fire they started,” Carl asked representatives from the engineering department. “Should they be rewarded for a delay they created?”

Martin told Carl the cause of the fire was considered when reviewing the change order.

At the meeting Commissioner Connie Hudson said she had only known the details of the change or for two days before she was asked to vote on it.

“There where questions asked of me about why we’re doing this, and I need to be able to answer them,” Hudson said at the meeting. “I need a little more time to look at change orders that are nearly a quarter of a million dollars.”

Martin said at the meeting and has since confirmed the $235,000 price tag is a “worst case” scenario and it could possibly be lower once the work is completed.

However, the price is also contingent upon TeamCraft being able to use the scaffolding already being used in Government Plaza by another company – a company that, according to Martin, is cleaning up after the fire caused by TeamCraft.

“The scaffolding is kind of a rolling project, and as they finish cleaning there, they’ll move it to where they need it,” Martin said. “Commissioner Hudson indicated they were going to try to vote on this right away. If they’re able to do that and approve it this week, it shouldn’t impact the cost substantially.”

As of Aug. 4, Martin said he had met with one commissioner. Hudson also told a reporter the same day she had a preliminary meeting with Martin, but was anticipating a follow-up.

The commission will have a conference Aug. 7 and is likely make a decision about the change order at its regular meeting Aug. 11.