Columbia County – Asbestos present in the remaining Columbia Courthouse basement could cost an extra $165000, a sum which is actually more than the whole amount planned by the county for asbestos abatement. The discovery of asbestos was unexpected and was not budgeted for.
The $8M courthouse project of the county has around $700000 in change orders’ allowances such as removal of asbestos, says David Robinson, the Commissioner of the Public Works Department.
The county’s budget was $144000 for removal of asbestos. The additional requirement of $165000 would make the total expense for the work to approximately $300000. Robinson says the estimate can be negotiated.
The asbestos finding has halted the ground renovation project at the courthouse. John Cutsumpas, the project manager with architectural company Lothrop Associates, said the project could be delayed by another 4 to 6 weeks by the extra asbestos removal. Cutsumpas said there was some “off the chart” quantity of asbestos material discovered that had not been originally planned on.
Robinson said that the Columbia County has been forwarded the estimate for the job from Alpine Environmental Services, their consultant, depending on the projection by Eugene Dilorenzo, the general contractor.
The discussions on Wednesday between supervisors followed talks a few weeks ago on a $56744 change order for changing the electric paneling in the courthouse. This resulted in overseers questioning who’d take the responsibility for the mistake in planning.
Benson questioned again on Wednesday whether the project planners would be liable. “They’re the specialists. They did something completely wrong,” he said.
Jeffrey Nayer, the Supervisor, said that the courthouse is a very old structure and therefore all the asbestos couldn’t have been accounted earlier. “
In the meantime, the board is considering the overhauling of heating system at the courthouse seriously, which would add approximately $400000 in addition to the project expense.
Thomas Garrick, a supervisor, said the effort was essential as the heating system was old and required to be eventually replaced. Garrick said it’d cost much more in case the county waited for doing it following the reoccupation of the courthouse.
“It appears to be wasting of the taxpayers’ money, but it is not,” Nayer said.
The overseers would like to hear a new heating system’s cost estimates before moving ahead. They are also planning to replace windows in the courthouse, though it could add additional significant cost and will need another bid.