At their Tuesday, August 24 meeting, New Fairfield’s Permanent Building Committee (PBC) heard an update from O&G regarding a number of issues at the Consolidated Early Learning Academy (CELA) construction site that have arisen over the summer. They range in cost implications and in their potential to impact the project’s timeline. At this point, CELA is scheduled to open for the start of the 2022-2023 school year.
One item on the list is a corridor that will adjoin the new addition to the existing Meeting House Hill School. The corridor needs to be flashed into the existing building to make it watertight, but in investigation before removing several courses of brick, it was discovered that the existing vapor barrier is an asbestos containment. It was noted that this was not identified in the underlying documents. O&G has suggested that the brick not be disturbed, instead they recommended terminating the roof of the new corridor with an external flashing and termination bar. O&G’s Mr. Jason Travelstead explained that “it is certainly the most cost effective means of moving forward with the issue, it is not, however, necessarily, the best way to terminate a roof.” JCJ Architecture will be determining next best steps and PBC member Mr. Paul Boniello stressed that it needs to be watertight and to “not just throw money at something,” but that the right thing needs to be done.
The project is running into an industry-wide supply issue for the roof system that has been chosen. O&G’s Mr. Zach Rowley explained that the critical components of the roof will not be available until after the new year, which is months after they had planned to install. For now, Rowley explained that they are working on a plan for a temporary roofing system, which is readily available and will allow them to keep moving, however “It does have some substantial cost implications.” PBC members probed whether substitutions had been considered and offered potentially more inexpensive solutions, but were met with roadblocks in that the roofing company has a select number of products that fall under its warranty. Rowley also noted that the roofer believes moving to a new roofing system “would be more expensive.”
They’ve also discovered the need to relocate a sanitary pump chamber that is part of the CELA addition. It is being relocated from the originally designed location as a result of conditions discovered during excavation. This will involve adding additional structures and relocating the pump chamber itself in order to put it in the path to catch the sanitary line. Travelstead explained that this is a “not minor change” though no pricing information was available yet. PBC members have asked to receive the complete Requests for Information when it gets identified as a Potential Change Order. Finally, there are continued schedule impacts due to the number of issues with unsuitable soils at CELA. Altogether, there is a 3 week impact to the schedule, given what they experienced this summer. Travelstead pointed out that they are attempting to close this gap as soon as possible, before more trades enter the construction site. As they are working a 6 day-per week schedule already, the opportunities are more limited, but they will take every one that becomes available. Overall, Boniello pointed out that the delays will be tracked in the CPM schedule and acknowledged “it’s a renovation, things happen, we discover stuff, and we’ve just got to work through it…thank you for the effort you’re putting forth right now,” which Travelstead said he appreciated.
Colliers International’s Mr. Mark Schweitzer explained that the overall focus in late August at CELA has been on readying the school for students and staff. Construction leads have hosted several walkthroughs for the school administrators and created extensive punch lists that were slated to be complete just before the school year began. The final items for completion were the gym lobby, which needed electrical, lighting, and egress work, and the parking lot, which needed final line striking. Schweitzer was happy to point out that they were “All prepped for student drop off and pick up” and that the recess space has been finalized in the far parking lot.
Regarding the new high school, O&G’s Ms. Lorel Purcell explained that construction was slated to begin on August 30. It was noted that the initial construction site will not impact student pick up or drop off, as work will primarily be focused on 74 and 78 Gillotti Road, plus setting up the perimeter and clearing vegetation. School administrators are working closely with O&G to prepare for smooth traffic flow changes, especially regarding the timing of the temporary bus lot. Purcell gave an update on a number of bids, noting that the steel contractor has changed, plus noting that O&G’s price proposal is now being reviewed. She also gave a follow up from the last PBC meeting on the reinforced turf parking, which is currently on the Value Engineering list with a potential to be restored, and was happy to report that the company was willing to agree to current pricing if the parking lot is able to be included in the future.
The next regular Permanent Building Committee is scheduled for Tuesday, September 12, 7:30 p.m. The PBC also held a special meeting on Tuesday, August 31.
By Sarah Opdahl