New Fairfield’s Permanent Building Committee (PBC) held a special meeting on Tuesday, August 31, to primarily make a decision on moving forward on the sanitary pump repair issue that has been discussed at several previous meetings. The PBC ultimately granted the design team approval to move forward on a not-to-exceed $111,582 solution as a Construction Change Directive, but pushed back on whether their budget should bear the fix, given that this was possibly an error on the design team’s part. They will be investigating contractual obligations and pursuing the matter further. Chair Mr. George Martignetti said that separate discussions needed to be had regarding “what should have been caught and maybe was missed…if this is an error by the design team, why should the PBC have to pay for it?” The PBC also discussed the schedule impacts that this issue has had on the overall project.
Langan Engineering’s Ms. Katy Gagnon explained that the pipe at issue, a 13-foot deep sanitary line below Meeting House Hill School, was on a previous plumbing map—MHHS’s major renovation was completed less than 10 years ago—but “there was no physical evidence of this pipe” and their team was not able to verify it in the fields. To which PBC member Ms. Ann Brown asked, “Well, if it’s buried, how would there be?” Mr. Don Kellogg questioned the logic that they were unable to verify the pipe, saying “I don’t mean to put you guys on the spot, but this is something you guys should have caught. I mean, it’s right there on an existing drawing.” With agreement from fellow PBC members, he went on to say that if he sees something on a building plan “I assume it’s there, unless I determine otherwise.” Regarding responsibility for the costs, Colliers International’s Mr. Scott Pellman explained that there is language that addresses errors and omissions in the contracts, but noted that “this change, at this moment, would not put you past that threshold.”
There was some confusion over whether O&G had hit the pipe, but Project Manager Mr. Zach Rowley explained that it was discovered, but not damaged. Gagnon said that the line “appears to be septic.” Given that there were indications of flow, which is odd because the school is unoccupied in the summer (when the line was found), PBC members requested that the line be dye-tested to be sure that it is not connected to a storm system. “We don’t want to send that to septic,” Mr. Mike Del Monaco said. Kellogg posed that the line “Probably picks up the old 2nd grade wing and bathrooms by the entrance.” Del Monaco pointed out that a dye test could be conducted in minutes with the purchase of a food coloring kit.
The pipe was found over a month ago, during which time the design team, working closely with O&G, discussed several possible solutions. JCJ Architecture’s Ms. Christine O’Hare explained that this issue needed the month, with “quite a bit of back and forth” to determine and review the solution with the team and the town officials. Gagnon explained the complex fix, pointing out the various tank, pipe, manholes, and electrical conduit that will need to be installed. There was a discussion regarding whether PVC pipe is appropriate for use 13-feet deep, but the design team confirmed that it meets code. PBC members asked whether No-Hub pipe would be more appropriate at this depth, but it was noted that it would be far more expensive.
Rowley explained that the work will be addressed quickly, given that he is seeing an impactful 39-day delay on the construction site. “It’s definitely delayed us” he said, on the footings and piers in the area of the pipe, which were supposed to start in July. O&G’s Mr. Jason Travelstead explained that he and Rowley will “need to monkey with the logic on the schedule to deal with the resequencing of the work” given this and other impact activities at the site, such as the issue of obtaining roofing materials and more excavation than expected, as previously reported. “We’ve lost all float in that area now,” Travelstead said.
The next regular Permanent Building Committee meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 14, 7:30 p.m.
By Sarah Opdahl