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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — Colfax Village Board members agree that without a specifications list, any bids for fixing the collapsed Department of Public Works ceiling are just too confusing and impossible to compare.
Various contractors have given different quotes: $42,000 to fix the ceiling in the DPW building, including replacing the heating but no electrical; $40,000 to fix the ceiling with no heating and no electrical; $17,000 on heating; $1,800 for the electrical, said Rand Bates, director of public works, at the Colfax Village Board’s April 22 meeting.
A portion of the ceiling at the DPW building collapsed last month. Quick thinking by Bates kept the ceiling from collapsing onto the floor when he used the village’s end loader to prop up the ceiling.
Lynn Niggemann, administrator-clerk-treasurer, noted after consulting with the village’s attorney, it appears the ceiling is “just outside the window” of the state law that would allow the village to go back to the contractor or the engineer for repairs.
The attorney has suggested he could write a letter asking the general contractor to come and look at the damage and take care of the repair and that he could also write to the village’s insurance company and suggest some of the repair cost be covered by insurance, she said.
Any letters written by the attorney, however, “would all just be a stab at it,” Niggemann said.
“The likelihood is not very high, but the attorney is not against trying,” she said.
The village board should be able to consider “apples to apples” comparisons on the work to repair the ceiling, said Scott Gunnufson, village president.
A situation of bids “with heat and no electricity,” and “no heat but with electricity” and “no heat and no electricity” are not very helpful, he said.
A bid sheet would make the bids more comparable, Bates agreed.
“Everybody who looks at it says something different,” he said.
One will say he is going to do the whole ceiling while another one will say he is only going to do the affected part, Niggemann said.
Keith Burcham, village trustee, wondered if the person who had written the report on the ceiling would be able to do a bid sheet.
The report writer was hired by the insurance company, Bates said.
The village could perhaps hire that person or someone from another firm, Niggemann suggested.
Whole or part?
Annie Jenson, village trustee, said she was of the opinion the whole ceiling should be replaced rather than just the part that collapsed.
If the cost is $50,000 for the collapsed part, is the cost $100,000 for the whole ceiling? she asked.
“One guy said if he couldn’t do it all, he wouldn’t put his name on it,” Bates said.
If the rest of the ceiling collapses after it is repaired, the question will be, “who fixed it last?” Jenson said.
“To me, the whole thing needs to be taken care of,” she said.
The village needs a specifications sheet that lists taking down the ceiling, taking down the electrical, taking down the heat, securing the purlins, replacing the steel, replacing the electrical, replacing the heat, Gunnufson said.
All three of the contractors who looked at the ceiling said new steel should be put up, Bates said.
“They said start new, because you’d have to try to use the same nail holes (on the old ceiling),” he said.
Also, the sheets of steel used for the DPW ceiling are no longer being manufactured, so the steel could not be matched, Bates said.
Some of the insulation will have to be replaced, too, he said.
“It’s a nightmare,” Bates said.
In response to a question about how long the ceiling has been down, Niggemann said the ceiling had collapsed on March 22.
Gunnufson wondered about the direction in which the village board wanted to go.
“Take bids on the whole ceiling,” Jenson said.
Bates said he could work on specifications sheet for the DPW ceiling.
Several village board members wondered if Gareth Shambeau, a civil engineer with Ayres Associates, would be able to help with the spec sheet.
Shambeau has attended several recent village board meetings to speak about the Roosevelt Street project.
When the ceiling repair is put out for bids, the bid request should also include a timeline for completing the work, said Mark Halpin, village trustee.
“It’s a pain to get a bid,” Bates commented.
A spec sheet might work better, Niggemann said.
The Colfax Village Board directed Bates and Niggemann to work out the details for a specifications sheet and to bring the information back to the village board.