Polk to move forward with DSS repairs

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, July 15, 2014


The Polk County department of social services (DSS) building. (photo by Leah Justice)

After approximately two and a half years of issues, Polk County Commissioners decided to move forward with some repairs to its human services building.
Commissioners met Monday, July 7 and awarded a bid to GEM Constructors Inc. for a total of $82,146.
The human services building, or department of social services (DSS) building has had issues since the county moved into the new building in December 2011.
Commissioners said last week that there are some repairs that can be taken care of, such as repairs to the sewer system and other “punch list” items.
The county hired special consultants MBP Carolinas Inc. to determine what repairs are needed for the building’s HVAC system, which is the main item in need of repairs. A surety company will settle with the county to pay for the repairs once all repairs are complete, including to the HVAC system. The county will pay for the contract with GEM Constructors then be reimbursed by the surety company once a settlement is reached.
The county is still waiting for MBP to make a determination on the HVAC system prior to those repairs moving forward.
The county hired Able Constructors to construct the building, with owner acceptance being achieved on Dec. 9, 2011, approximately one year after construction of the facility began. The building is located off Wolverine Trail in Mill Spring, with the county moving into the new facility from the Jervey-Palmer building in Tryon, originally St. Luke’s Hospital.
Since the completion of the new DSS building, the county experienced multiple environmental conditions and mechanical system operational issues that led to warping of doors as well as blockage in the sewer line. The main issues with building have been problems with the HVAC system, humidity and the sewer line not having enough slope, which causes blockages. The county maintenance department routinely flushes the sewer system to prevent the blockages currently.
Other issues include duct leakage and issues with wiring throughout the building.
The county has been negotiating with the bonding surety company and is still trying to determine who is liable for the issues in the building. Able Contractors is no longer in business.
Polk did not complete payments to Able Contractors because of the issues and the project not being completed on time, withholding $75,000 of the construction contract.
GEM Constructors’ bid includes $36,137 for sewer repairs in the bathrooms; $18,595 for sewer repairs in the conference room and $17,508 for other punch list repairs for a total base bid of $72,240. An alternate bid was also included at $9,906 for a total bid of $82,146. The surety company sought bids with GEM turning in the lowest bid. Other bids received were for $89,636, $100,900 and $101,850.


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