Meadville Tribune

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July 17, 2014

Cost-saving effort may backfire in Meadville City Building roof fix

MEADVILLE — Skimping on construction costs can end up costing a lot more in the long run — just ask Meadville City Council. A decision it made two years ago may end up in $50,000 of repairs to the City Building.

“Sometimes when you cut costs it can come back to haunt you,” Councilman LeRoy Stearns said.

At Wednesday’s meeting, council was informed that the City Building’s rubber membrane pulled away from the brick parapets in January or February, allowing water to leak down the walls into Magisterial District Judge William Chisholm’s office.

Engineering consultant Ashley Porter said it was initially thought the roof was leaking. McCreery Roofing, which performed the roofing renovations for the City Building less than two years ago, discovered the rubber membrane had pulled away on both the north and south walls.

Unfortunately for council, this didn’t fall under the warranty, Porter told council.

Back in 2012 when council renovated the building, replacing the rubber membrane was a $40,000 option. Council, however, opted to stick with the previous rubber membrane to save money.

Now, the job could cost approximately $50,000 to repair both walls and replace the rubber membrane. Though only the north end of the City Building has leaked, council was concerned over the whole job.

“This is our asset; we need to take care of it,” Councilman Bob Langley said.

Porter offered a few of options, such as capping the membrane for $2,000 to $3,000, a complete overhaul for about $50,000 or splitting the two walls into two jobs. If the rubber membrane is redone, it will give the roof a 25-year life expectancy.

Porter explained if council fixes just the north wall now, it may fall under $19,100. At this amount council wouldn’t be required to seek bids and prevailing labor doesn’t come into play.

Interim City Manager Andy Walker recommended council chose the $50,000 option. Mayor Christopher Soff directed Walker to research finance options and bring them to council’s Aug. 6 meeting for council to decide.

“We need to do something with this roof,” Soff said. “We can’t keep ignoring it.”

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