Hatboro's Fire Station Expansion Set for Fall Completion
Additional costs and other unexpected issues like flooding, are not expected to cause major delays in the completion of Enterprise Fire Company's 2,500-square-foot addition.
Recent heavy rains caused flooding of the fire station’s basement and engine bay area, Fire Chief Keith Gordon said. The fire department’s generator was damaged and records were ruined, he said.
“There is a sump pump down there, but there was so much water the sump pump couldn’t keep up with it,” Gordon said of the two to three feet of water that entered the basement. “You’re going to have a little bit of that problem with any construction issue.”
Hatboro Borough Manager Steve Plaugher said the fire department’s insurance company would cover the expenses related to flooding.
Late last month, work had been temporarily halted because Titanium Enterprises, Inc., the Bensalem-based contractor hired to carry out the two-story, 2,500-square-foot addition on the back of the building, had begun installing the wrong type of trusses, officials said. Plaugher said that issue has since been corrected and is not expected to cause further project delays beyond a week or two.
The project's minor setbacks have not resulted in a higher price tag for the project, which was originally bid in the amount of $886,000, Plaugher said. However, listed on the council’s committee meeting agenda for tonight is consideration of a fourth change order, in the amount of $2,223. With its approval, the total construction project costs to date would increase by $14,201.50 for a total of $900,201.50.
Since the project is being funded by a $500,000 state grant and $500,000 in matching borough funds, Plaugher said there’s a “little bit of room” for unexpected construction costs resulting from change orders.
“We have a little cushion,” Plaugher said. “We made it clear to the fire company that the borough can only put in that $500,000 and that’s it.”
One of the change orders, approved last month, for the installation of ceiling sensors on the first and second floors, may be rescinded, Plaugher said. Initially viewed by borough architects as a “green” way to control the rooms’ lights, Plaugher said the $3,613.50 additional expense might be just that: additional. After further review, Plaugher said the borough’s engineers and architects determined there’s “another alternative” that is “part of the actual contract that was bid.”
“The building’s not under cover yet,” Plaugher said, noting that the borough can void the change order because the contractor has not yet completed tasks needed to install ceiling sensors. “If the work was already done, then we’d have a problem.”
At the council’s last regular meeting in July, the governing body voted to give Plaugher the authority to approve change orders under $5,000. Council President Marianne Reymer said Plaugher still notifies the council of the extra costs and a vote would be taken during the council’s regular meeting of the month.
Councilman Bill Tompkins initially voiced concerns over Plaugher approving change orders because of the need to follow procedures set forth in the various agreements between the borough and the fire company.
Tompkins said he had no issue with the additional project expenses to date.
“These seem to be normally encountered changes to fit unexpected site conditions or to add items that are changes/enhancements since the plans were drawn and bid on,” Tompkins said in an e-mail. “Normally an allowance is taken into consideration for a large project for change orders when the design process is done and when they are bid.”
Reymer agreed, that at this point, she is not concerned with the additional construction costs.
“Change orders are standard on any project,” Reymer said. “We did expect there to be some change orders. We’re at four. We are watchful of this project. We are monitoring it. We’re aware.”