Minden fire hall costs climb the ladder
|By Lisa Gervais - Editor | November 16, 2017|
The cost of Minden’s new fire hall has gone up by about $100,000.
Interim fire Chief Mike Bekking told councillors at their Nov. 9 meeting that Greystone Project Management Inc. ran into trouble with soil during excavation of the site.
“Unsuitable bearing soil for footings was discovered; the removal of the unsatisfactory soil was required,” Bekking said in a report. “To provide a stable foundation, engineered soil was supplied.”
The cost is $41,685.18 He said staff then went back to Greystone to see if they could find savings elsewhere on the project, and they were able to trim nearly $20,000 in original costs.
Some of the cost-saving changes will include using standard insulated doors, versus polycarbonate on the overhead doors; taking out a vinyl window from the air fill room; a change from steel structure to pre-engineered trusses; masonry instead of a concrete wall and changing the office flooring to vinyl from porcelain. As the building progresses, there are also some new, as yet unbudgeted, expenses.
For example, there are plans for an electronic location sign ($30,000), furniture ($23,000), IT infrastructure ($12,853.78), bunker gear washer and dryer ($5,000), a generator monitor ($1,000) and an additional $20,000 contingency.
That brings additional total costs to $115,628.82, minus the nearly $20,000 in new savings. Council has so far budgeted just over $1.9 million for the project and this puts it over the $2 million mark. The additional cost has been referred to 2018 budget talks. Bekking told council while Greystone could have done core sampling it wouldn’t have changed the outcome or the cost.
Coun. Pam Sayne, who voted against the motion to give Greystone the job because there was only one bidder on such a major building project, told council “I’m disappointed with this cost addition.”
She added while there is insulating concrete form (ICF) – which is good for energy efficiency - in the foundation, there isn’t in the building itself. She said energy efficiency should have been a priority for the building so Minden Hills could be proud of its carbon footprint.
She said the soil issue should have been flagged much earlier in the process, such as doing soil testing before quoting the job.
She’s worried about the township being “nickeled and dimed” on the project.
Mayor Brent Devolin retorted, saying the council discussed the pay back from ICF versus framing and it was 40 years so “if it was a surprise to you … I’ll just leave that.”
He added soil along the Highway 35 corridor – as a result of the highway construction – can be problematic. He said in any job “there’s always wild parts” and he didn’t think $40,000 on a $2 million budget was a major variant. He said he would happily defend the added expense.
In an interview with the Highlander, Bekking said the job was on schedule with the exterior of the building expected to be completed in February. During late winter and early spring the interior can then be finalized, he said.
LISA GERVAIS is the editor for The Highlander.