A consultant’s report into construction work on Tisbury’s new emergency services building has found a long list of deficiencies inside and outside, from the foundation to the roof shingles.
Parts of the building off Spring street will have to be rebuilt, according to the report done by Building Enclosure Consultants (BEA), the Cambridge firm engaged by the town to assess the trouble-plagued project, which originally was due for completion this week.
It now appears unlikely the $7.4 million project will be finished much before the end of the year.
A cover letter from HKT Architects, the project managers, to the general construction contractor, Seaver Construction of Woburn, directs them to stop work on all areas of the project outlined in the report as being deficient, “until the investigation of the deficiencies and identification of appropriate corrective action has been completed.”
The consultant’s report, completed last week following a site visit on May 11, notes that at that time, the exterior was mostly finished, “with air and vapor membrane, rigid insulation, plywood sheathing, brick masonry veneer, precast concrete base, wood shingles and PVC trim above. The roof is covered with asphalt shingles over a vented insulated panel with plywood sheathing.”
Misplaced foundations, faulty concrete slab flooring, misaligned, rusty and damaged structural members, faulty insulation and vapor barriers, leaks, and doors that do not properly close are among the things named in the long list of problems.
Accompanying photographs show gaps under doors due to uneven floors, misaligned joints in cladding, obvious leaks in walls, under doors and around the bases of steel bracing, gaps along the wall edges of the plywood sheathing on the roof, and gaps in the plastic vapor barriers.
The contractor has commissioned its own consultant’s report, due next week.
Starting at the bottom, the report documents problems with the foundations.
The foundations were misplaced in several parts of the building, including under the front office, the report says, and recommends the whole front be removed, so the foundation can be fixed.
Above that, the concrete slab flooring has problems, some previously identified and some new. The concrete in the equipment bay, which was supposed to slope to allow water to run off, does not, leading to water pooling. The fix for that, already discussed, is to grind parts of the slab down and affix a new nonslip coating.
Elsewhere, reinforcing steel in the slab in the administration building was exposed, laid “directly on top of a disintegrating vapor barrier,” and not integrated into the concrete. That defect was only revealed due to some cutting of the slab. “It is unknown if the entire slab on grade was built this way, or is an isolated case,” the report says. Because the slab is not flat, the main equipment bay door does not seal properly when closed.
There are problems with the steel skeleton of the building.
“Several steel columns were filled up with water during erection, which froze during winter and deformed or twisted the columns, as well [sic] cracked the concrete around it,” the report says.
The columns were supposed to have cap plates welded in place, “and it is not clear how the water entered the tube columns. This is a very serious problem,” the report says.
Holes have since been drilled to let water out, but this presents other problems.
The consultants seek assurances that the holes drilled in steel columns, tube bracing and door posts, intended to relieve water buildup inside “have not compromised the integrity of the columns and that water build up will not re-occur.”
The report recommends that all the tube columns should be inspected to see if they still contained water, and that the contractors propose a solution guaranteeing the soundness of the columns, including producing a certificate from the tubes’ manufacturer certifying they were up to specifications.
Elsewhere, structural steel members are rusting and will have to be ground back and reprimed. One appeared to have been installed upside down. Others are out of alignment.
In the walls, the report finds missing veneer masonry anchors and ties, and inadequacies with flashing.
There also are numerous examples of water leakage and condensation.
The consultants also found deficiencies with the way air and water vapor membranes, flashing and insulation were installed. There were insulation gaps around windows, inadequate spray insulation in some places, and gaps in the vapor barriers at various points.
On the roof, the BEA review found “deficiencies . . . including improper nailing, coursing, flashing, absence of ice and water shield, etc.”
It recommended that Seaver “remove and replace all the asphalt shingle roofing installed to date and address flashing and ice/water protection membrane installation deficiencies on the sloped roofs, including any applicable local hurricane protection requirements.”
The long delay in making the building weatherproof has also caused problems, the report found. “It may be necessary to replace in entirety building materials that are damaged due to weather exposure,” it says.
The consultant’s report was commissioned by the town last month in response to a growing list of defects detailed on the town’s so-called corrective action log of defects — now some 80 items long — and the perceived unresponsiveness of the company.
At their May 3 meeting, Tisbury selectmen complained that the town had waited weeks or months for responses to their concerns. Seaver’s vice president of operations, Ken DellaCroce, admitted there were problems that should have been addressed and had not been, and said that was why the company had replaced the project manager on site (at the town’s request).
This week, company president Scott Seaver said he had now commissioned his own consultant’s report, which would be completed next week. He also said some of the problems enumerated in the BEA report either were not problems at all, or were less serious than they were made to appear.
The alleged shortcomings with the roofing, for example, were not real, and the town’s building committee had accepted it would not require redoing, he said. The front office structure was temporary and could easily be removed and replaced. He said he already had received a letter indicating the steel members which had frozen and distorted remained structurally sound.
The rust on other steel members was no worse than normal in any construction project, he said, and many of the other complaints were left over from the tenure of the previous project manager and were being addressed.
Mr. Seaver said the company remains intent on working with the town to get the project completed to everyone’s satisfaction.
“We’re not looking to get into a fight,” he said.
As to when the long-delayed project might be complete, Mr. Seaver said the ball was now in the town’s court, because it was now the party delaying things. Nonetheless, some work still was progressing inside the building.
“When we finish,” he said, “depends on when they turn us loose.”