2012-08-01 / Front Page

Reasons for jail changes sought

BY ERIC LEVINE
editor

At 10 a.m. on July 24, county commissioners participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for the $8 million Sanilac County Jail expansion and renovation project.

Five hours later, the board of commissioners was seeking a written response from the jail architect regarding proposed Change Orders 1 and 2.

Commissioners authorized the county administrator to ask Schenkel Schultz Architecture why the changes, pertaining to state fire code requirements were not included in the original plans.

The changes totaling $27,067 are for additional spray-on fire proofing, additional ductwork, and fire and smoke dampers to protect ductwork.

The fire marshal’s office informed the county of the code requirements, following a review of the plans that wasn’t completed until after the project was advertised for bids.

Commissioners have several questions, said Administrator Kathy Dorman.

Why didn’t the architect meet the fire code requirements in the original plans that were bid in 2010, and then were rebid this year after the project was put on hold? And, were the original plans ever reviewed by the state fire marshal?

Dorman said she has been researching the records for the construction project and has not found any documentation that the fire marshal reviewed the plans.

Dorman said the assumption was that the 2010 plans - the same plans used for the 2012 project with minor exceptions - had met fire code, so the county advertised for the contractor bids in May knowing the fire marshal’s office had not completed its review. She said the county was working under time constraints, trying to get everything done by June 30 to avoid quarterly changes in interest rates on federal loans.

But if proposed Change Orders 1 and 2 brought bad news, Change Order 3, which commissioners approved last week, offset some of those increased costs.

Because the county provided the labor to install the construction fencing around the project area, and will also provide the labor to remove it, there was a savings of $1,200.

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