EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

December 28, 2012

'Sloppy' floor repair estimate angers leaders

By Brian Messenger
bmessenger@eagletribune.com

---- — METHUEN — The city expects to take legal action against a Boston-based consultant after a “fundamentally flawed” floor repair assessment at the Central Fire Station low balled the project by $44,000.

“They’re planning to go after them,” said Mayor Stephen Zanni. “We hope to get some money back from that.”

Methuen hired engineering firm CBI Consulting Services in June to prepare plans and specifications for repairs to the crumbling 2-foot-thick concrete slab inside the fire station, which was left with deep cracks and an uneven surface after years of wear and tear.

City councilors approved $59,500 for the job in October. But the cost quickly escalated to $103,392, prompting city officials to look for more funding within the operating budget. Some councilors wanted answers.

“We went on their recommendation,” said Councilor Michael Condon, who said CBI did a “sloppy job.”

“And then we ran into all these problems. I want the city to go after the guy that made the recommendation.”

The city was forced to make a $43,892 change order, according to a Dec. 17 memo written by Zanni.

Zanni wrote the memo in response to the council’s request for more information at a meeting Dec. 3. That night, City Councilor Peter McQuillan said the city would file a claim against CBI Consulting.

“We informed CBI Consulting or our contention that the plans and specifications were fundamentally flawed, and our solicitor is pursuing any remedies which the city may be entitled,” wrote Zanni.

The initial scope of work for the floor repair called for a 300 square-foot surface repair, 125 lineal-foot epoxy crack injection, 75 lineal-foot rout and seal crack repair, and an epoxy coat for the entire surface, according to the memo.

The project was put out to bid in September and the city received four responses ranging from $39,000 to $112,000. The lowest qualified and eligible bidder was Patriot Restoration of Marlborough at $59,500.

Repairs began Nov. 1 with floor grinding, but concerns were raised about lead paint dust on the second day of work. The project was halted immediately as the city ordered air quality testing in which lead was detected.

A certified lead abatement contractor was then hired to do work for $14,392. After the abatement work was completed, Patriot Restoration recommended “significant additional areas needing repair” totaling about $30,000.

“CBI generally concurred with Patriot’s assessment,” Zanni wrote. “This additional work included deep slab repairs, rebar replacement, and additional surface repairs.”