Polk receives $128k settlement for DSS building

Published 10:51 pm Thursday, April 23, 2015


By Leah Justice


Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Polk County has released its department of social service (DSS) building contractor and surety company in exchange for a payment of $128,475.

The Polk County Board of Commissioners met Monday, April 20 and after returning from closed session approved accepting the settlement.

Polk County has been in negotiations with North American Surety Company on behalf of Able Constructors, who constructed the county’s DSS building off Wolverine Trail in Mill Spring.

The county discovered issues with the building, including problems with the sewer system and the HVAC system with issues with the sewer system already repaired. Able Contractors are no longer in business so the county has been dealing with its surety company. Contractors must purchase a bond as required by state statutes for projects over a certain bid threshold.

Some of the settlement has already been spent, such as for the sewer problem. The county has a control system for the HVAC order and part of the settlement will be put towards that, according to Polk County Manager Marche Pittman. Pittman said the fix to the HVAC system should be the last of the repairs to the building.

Last July, commissioners decided to move forward with many of the repairs to the building while still in negotiations with North American Surety Company.

Repairs to the sewer system began in September 2014, with the sewer line having to be dug out and replaced from the kitchen area of the building.

The county paid GEM Constructors $82,146 last year to complete what they referred to as punch list items, including the sewer issues. The former sewer line did not have the correct fall and had to be replaced.

The DSS building had issues since the county moved into the new building in December 2011. The county hired special consultants MBP Carolinas Inc. to determine what repairs were needed for the building’s HVAC system.

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.

Issues in the building included warping of doors, blockage in the sewer line and humidity issues.

Polk did not complete payments to Able Contractors because of the issues and the project not being completed on time. Polk County withheld $75,000 of the construction contract.