County has issues with records storage project


Multiple change orders were denied for the new Records Storage Building on West Beech Street in Hillsboro at the weekly Wednesday meeting of the Highland County Board of Commissioners.

Commissioner Dave Daniels said Alpha Construction, the company in charge of the work at the new building, requested the change orders. Daniels said that they were back in front of the board following a back-and-forth meeting with the company.

Nicole Oberrecht, Highland County’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds coordinator, said the board had already denied the requests at a prior meeting, but Alpha Construction asked for them to be looked at again despite giving no new evidence or additional information.

The first of those requests was for the count to submit Pay App #3, which was for the payment of steel. Daniels said Alpha Construction wanted to be paid for the steel already, even though the materials had not yet been delivered to the site. He said the county was “more than happy” to pay for the materials once they were on-site. He also said that the county would be more amenable to the request if the project was moving forward and there were “a few more signs of progress.”

Concerning some of the other subcontractors who were further along possibly storing some of their materials off-site, that possibility was brought forward.

“Alpha’s progress was to be far beyond where it is now and so those subcontractors have made their timing to the place where they’ve got equipment in that now, because we’re not where we’re supposed to be, that they’re holding onto material and they’ve got the cash outlay,” Daniels said. “So would we then authorize those subcontractors to store off-site because of the delays that we’ve had from Alpha?”

Commissioner Terry Britton said that some of their materials maybe shouldn’t be stored outside.

Oberrecht, however, said that possibility was convoluted because that would mean Pay App #4 would need to be done before Pay App #3, which McCarty Associates would prefer to not do. She said they believe it would muddy the water by doing the payments out of order.

Concerning Change Order #5 related to giving the company an additional two weeks on the project, the board of commissioners agreed to table the discussion until the end of the project.

For Change Order #6, which was for an additional footer undercut, the commissioners denied it due to it being because of Alpha Construction’s actions. Oberrecht said this factor wasn’t included in any part of their bid.

“My big complaint on that one too is they do the two-foot undercut, gravel it in and then when they start to do the footings, they have a thing in here where they’re willing to charge you for removal of spoils,” commissioner Brad Roades said. “So, basically what they put in, they’re charging us to take out.”

Regarding Change Order #8, water line sizing changes dealing with the sprinkler system, Oberrecht said Alpha Construction said they expected the job would be done with a two-inch line, but then it came back that it would need a six-inch line. She said Alpha wanted to be paid the difference between the materials and other “things of that nature.”

Roades, however, said that in the original bid plans from McCarty Associates, it stated that the contractor needed to verify the line size for the sprinkler system before any bid was placed.

The board of commissioners also denied that request.

On Change Order #9, gas main issues, the board decided to wait until more information was available before saying anything concrete.

Oberrecht said this issue came from when a gas main line wasn’t shown as being on the property and was struck. McCarty “threw out the suggestion” that it wasn’t Alpha or the county’s fault. She also said the county hasn’t heard back from Pike Natural Gas yet. However, she also said the repairs were already made Alpha Construction billed.

Daniels commented on Alpha Construction’s reputation, saying that while doing some background checking prior to their approval, they found there were concerns with their paperwork end more than the construction side.

“We received some information that this seems to be a pattern with this company on other jobs that they got that they continue to submit change orders for these kinds of things on every job they’ve been on,” he said. “It’s almost like it’s a business practice. So again, I think that we’ve seen where there’s been opportunities for them to work when they haven’t been there. And the delays, I think many of them are caused by their actions.”

Oberrecht also reported that she and the commissioners would be going to the OSU Extension Building later on Wednesday to do a walk through “punch list” meeting to go through every detail. She said the group would be looking through the interior and see what is left to be completed.

Britton also said that on Thursday the commissioners and multiple other county officials would be visiting the Ohio Statehouse to talk to all of their representatives and cabinet directors. He also said Governor Mike DeWine would be doing a “fly-by.”

The commissioners approved a quit-claim deed for a forfeited property in Greenfield related to a criminal case, with the property to be turned over to the village of Greenfield.

Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.

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