Saturday, October 13, 2018

Loring Arena and the contractor delays.

If my memory serves me... Town Meeting debated this subject to death... lots of personal stories were heard about how Loring was so much in need of a rehab.  And like many other projects we have taken on, there's always some issue with the contractors. I wonder if the same will hold true for the new Fuller school project. Question: Are the workers to blame or the architects/engineers? Is there enough professional oversight, is it a non union or union thing? Are we asking for to much when we approve of these major projects to have them done right the first time?

From the MWDN:

City officials say construction errors and poor workmanship by subcontractors is to blame for delays in the grand reopening of Loring Arena, which is in the final stages of a roughly $6 million renovation and expansion project.
The facility — which serves as home ice to skaters and school hockey teams — remains partially closed to the public as crews continue work on the project, which began in summer 2017.
While the rink is open, crews are still finishing a new addition in the front of the building, which will offer locker rooms, additional seats for spectators and an elevator, making the facility fully handicap accessible.
City officials say they’re putting pressure on general contractor Lupachino/Salvatore to finish the work, which was due to be substantially complete by mid-August, with a Sept. 1 end date.
“It has been a challenging project working with the contractor trying to get this project completed,” said Thatcher Kezer, the city’s chief operating officer.
Kezer said delays arose within the last few months as the city’s facilities director, Jim Paolini, and inspectional services staff reviewed individual components of the project and raised concerns about the quality of the work.
“Jim’s posture is to make sure we’re getting our money’s worth for this project,” he said. “And so there were a number of just basic construction project issues where things are done and our folks, our building inspectors and Jim go in and look at the work and require certain parts to be redone.”
In an interview Friday, Paolini said he rejected several construction list items that were submitted by the contractor for final approval because they didn’t meet state building codes or the proper specifications.
“The city is not accepting inferior work, and I’m making the contractor accountable,” Paolini said. “If he installs something that’s not to specifications, or not to Mass. code or Mass. standards, then it’s getting rejected.”

In one example, Paolini said work was delayed by more than one week as crews tore up and rebuilt a concrete sidewalk outside the rink that did not meet federal accessibility standards. Paolini said the material used was inferior, and the sidewalk was installed at too steep a grade, requiring the contractor to purchase new steel rebar and materials and redo it.
The city is now waiting for the contractor to fix a variety of punch list items, Paolini said, from painting and cleaning to repairing metal siding on the sidewalk that was damaged by a jackhammer.
“At this point ... the stage of construction we’re at shouldn’t be where we are,” Paolini said. “We should be a little further along. As we continue to identify stuff that has not met the bid specifications, it’s a process to get the [subcontractors] back to correct” it.
Framingham built the Edward F. Loring Arena at 165 Fountain St. in 1963 to honor Framingham High School’s 1961 state championship hockey team.
Town Meeting members voted in 2015 to spend $5.66 million for an overhaul, which is intended to improve handicapped accessibility, better separate boys’ and girls’ dressing rooms and correct other deficiencies in the more-than-50-year-old skating arena.
Residents then increased the budget for the project to about $6 million in 2016 after proposals from contractors came back higher than expected.
Of seven contractors who bid on the project, the lowest proposal came from Lupachino/Salvatore, a Bloomfield, Connecticut company, which offered to complete the renovations for $5.63 million.
Work began last summer with demolition of the front of the building. A new addition that took its place includes locker rooms, concessions, skate shop offices, community rooms, a small conference room and a second-floor viewing area.
The skating season typically lasts from late August through April or May. The city put temporary measures in place last winter to allow teams to continue using the rink while construction was underway.
The rink opened for the fall hockey season once again in September, though teams are still limited to using the back looker rooms, and the addition remains closed.
“We have to go through the punch list items and make sure that everything is in order before we can open it up to the public,” said James Snyder, director of parks, recreation and cultural affairs.
While construction is behind, Paolini said costs have not exceeded the original budget. The city also has some leverage to control finances, such as filing a claim with the company that holds a construction bond on the project — an amount of money the contractor was required to post before it could proceed with the work.
Filing a claim could trigger the bond-holder to take over management of the project, ensuring the city isn’t on the hook for additional expenses, Paolini said.
“I’ve made it clear one way or the other the city is going to get what they paid for,” Paolini said.


At October 14, 2018 at 5:45 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Project was a complete waste of taxpayer money. All it did was subsidize the cost for hockey parents on the backs of every taxpayer.

At October 15, 2018 at 9:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the previous poster. That being said we need to hold the bid winner accountable. If our requirements for the project were not met, then they don't get paid. Very simple. But Jim you raise good questions we need answers to before we move forward on any other major capital project, including the Fuller School. Do we verify the reputation of the companies we award bids to? If they have problems like we have seen with Loring, do we eliminate them from the companies we consider? What language do we put in our contracts about penalties for not finishing on time, or incentives for finishing early? Is the building inspector making frequent visits to sites to make sure that they are progressing as they should or do we wait until it is finished to make sure they are up to code? All of these questions need to be answered before we commit to any more major projects in Framingham

At October 15, 2018 at 11:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder if this happens in other municipalities or if there is a problem with how Framingham manages these projects. I remember there being an issue with the entrance to the IHOP that was not done the way it had been agreed to and resulted in last minute issues and I think there have been others that off the top of my head I can not remember but is there some process we are skipping or that we are late at doing that could prevent these issues from happening? Isn't that what the building inspector is suppose to be doing?

At October 15, 2018 at 2:08 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about also making those accountable for supposed improvements? If the old building isn't energy inefficient and the new one will be. Tell us how much of an improvement we will see. If we don't see those savings then we get to financially penalize those who made those promises.

At October 15, 2018 at 3:06 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a good thing we have Paolini checking this stuff out

At October 15, 2018 at 4:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good question about energy efficiency. Do we require anything like that when we put updates to city owned building out to bid, and if we don't why don't we? How do we make that happen?

At October 16, 2018 at 2:09 PM , Blogger jim Pillsbury said...

I too am glad Paolini is checking the the work at Loring. He has the right stuff and is not afraid to call out shoty or poor designs.

Like most things that are built today, roads, bridges, buildings etc etc, its all about the over sight. If you remember back when the big dig was if full swing, it was the lack of inspectors and the rush to get the job done that we found out about hundreds of thousands of tons of inferior concrete that was delivered. And on the local level, we had the bad roof on the fire house, poorly designed AC unit at the fire house that caused a major mold issue and who could forget the shoty work done o the senior center that cost a fair amount for Paolini to fix.
It's all about oversight and holding contractors liable for cost over runs imo. Claw backs are fine in any contract but not always enforceable if the owners go out of business... look at general chemical.

Inspectional Services should be mandated to provide on site eyes on any project and especially Fuller if it goes forward.

At October 16, 2018 at 3:15 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You raise a very valid point about making sure inspectors are on site at Fuller if we do down that road. Does the fact that a chunk of that money will come from the state mean that there will be state inspectors on the job also Jim, knower of all things.

At October 17, 2018 at 11:55 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe the crew building the new playground should swing by Loring and fix that mistakes. You all seem to know what you are doing.

At October 17, 2018 at 3:41 PM , Blogger jim Pillsbury said...

I agree.. the playground went smooth. I'm impressed with those car max people. Very few have handled a shovel but they are were very enthusiastic workers. And the union guys were very helpful and friendly. I'm glad to have participated in this community project. We got it done. It'll be there long after I'm gone.

At October 17, 2018 at 3:45 PM , Blogger jim Pillsbury said...

The City hired a overseer of construction, the title of that person escapes me now. It's my hope he will be (a Paloni type of a guy) who is on top of everything and not let things get out of hand, cost wise.

At October 18, 2018 at 1:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice work on the playground project by all of you who helped. I have to say though that I noticed your friend Mr. Hugo left you out of any pictures he took!

At October 18, 2018 at 2:56 PM , Blogger jim Pillsbury said...

No surprise there. And Petroni and Herb got into the same act. I'm not looking for a photo op with party loyalists. Mr Hugo is looking for something to do these days since he has no occupation any longer. Perhaps if he were to learn what hard labor is he could work with the carpenters union.


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