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Local

Roofing contract withdrawn for Metro Center

Bid was not according to specifications, and costs went up, too

Elaine Russell
Executive director, Princeton Park District
Elaine Russell Executive director, Princeton Park District

PRINCETON — The Princeton Park District Board has withdrawn its contract with contractor R.A. Oldeen of Kewanee after members learned during their Sept. 3 meeting that he didn’t bid the Bureau County Metro Center roof project according to the detailed specifications.

“Given the information, I requested all work be stopped on the roofing project. I’ve suggested the contract be withdrawn and rebid at a later date,” Jeff Purdy, owner of Design Alliance, advised.

Purdy is the engineer who originally designed the Metro Center’s nearly 31,000-square-foot roof, and he has returned to assist the board with technical assistance, planning, bidding, and to work with the chosen contractor.

The board initially expected the fully funded project to cost more than $550,000. Purdy’s estimate was lower, with a rough overall total of $400,000.

Oldeen submitted a base bid of $285,000 to install a new, white EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer) roof. He was to also replace the Metro Center’s skylights for roughly $4,900 in addition. The board agreed to extend the project’s deadline to Sept. 30 at the contractor’s request and the work was expected to take six to eight weeks to complete.

However, the board soon had to approve a $15,000 adjustment to the bid because Oldeen learned of a price difference between a black EPDM roof and a white one.

The current issue, though, is that the system Oldeen was preparing to install was drastically different than what was specified. According to Purdy’s report, the contractor was going to utilize mechanical fasteners to secure roofing material.

The district is against penetrating the roof deck with screws, especially over the pool area.

Other differences between what was specified and what the contractor was preparing to do involved the lack of a vapor barrier at the pool and gym locations. This wasn’t included in Oldeen’s bid, and when a bid was requested, he answered with an additional $42,000.

He also came back with an additional amount in excess of $47,000 when asked for the cost to use new insulation for the pool area, as specified, and for adhering it to the roof deck. Purdy said this is approximately three times what the roofing system manufacturer indicated it should be.

“He bid adhered roof membrane installation onto the mechanically fastened insulation in lieu of adhered membrane on adhered insulation, a system that typically runs a bit more in labor dollars. So he bid a cheaper system,” Purdy said.

“Including the $15,000 adjustment we previously approved for the color change, this job would now be approximately $105,000 more than what was originally bid,” Executive Director Elaine Russell told the board.

There were also differences in the system to be used to help release trapped moisture and prevent the development of mold and mildew, and there was an additional issue with the warranty.

Specifications required the new roof to have a 20-year warranty. However, the manufacturer would not warranty the specified system, but this wasn’t brought to the board’s attention until the pre-construction meeting. Purdy said other manufacturers will warranty the desired system.

“Therefore, again he bid a system not in compliance with specifications,” Purdy said.

Purdy said if the contractor’s concerns regarding the insulation, fastening technique and warranty issues had been brought to the district’s attention during the bidding process, they could have been addressed.

“It is unfortunate to be in this spot, but I see enough concern in system approach and pricing to relieve this contractor from any further work,” he said.

The board approved withdrawing from the contract, and the project will now have to be rebid for next year. Some roofing materials had been delivered to the Metro Center, but no work had started and no payments have been made, so it was going to be requested that the contractor come retrieve the materials.

The next Princeton Park District Board meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Sept. 16.

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