From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 2, Number 13 - June 27, 2002
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Building delayed indefinitely

by Cat Urbigkit

When State Representative Louie Tomassi arrived at Monday's commission meeting, Sublette County Commission Chairman Bill Cramer complained about the state fire marshal shutting down construction on the courthouse complex building project while the state agency conducts a plan review. The work has now been shut down three weeks, even though the state has had the plans since February or March, according to Sublette County Clerk Mary Lankford.

Cramer asked Tomassi if he would "pull some strings" in Cheyenne to get the fire marshal off the county's butt so work could begin again.

Tomassi said, "I'll call that son of a gun and give him a piece of my mind today."

"Let me see what I can do because I think it's unfair that we have to put up with this."

Tomassi left the meeting and proceeded to call the fire marshal's office, prompting state officials to contact the commission.

Assistant Fire Marshal Dick Dubay telephoned the commissioners, stating in a telephone conference that a major issue with the project is an area separation wall, separating the buildings from each other, and is based on the type of construction and the building occupancy. He added that in the jail construction, no wood is allowable in construction, but evidently all the roof trusses are made of wood.

Sublette County Clerk Mary Lankford pointed out to Dubay that the jail design calls for placement of a concrete lid on the cells before the roof goes on.

"My understanding is we've got separation with the concrete lid already," Lankford said, adding that the majority of the construction involves steel, blocks and brick.

"This whole thing goes back to the very beginning," Dubay said, with state statutes requiring fire marshal approval before construction begins. The architects are supposed to submit the plans for approval, so when the project goes out to bid, contractors are bidding on approved plans. That didn't happen in this case.

"Invariably, we run into this," Dubay said. "Because of all these changes that have got to be made, there's going to be a lot of extras and the contractors didn't bid it that way. Now unfortunately, it's going to end up costing, in this case you guys, somebody's going to have to pay the extras in this based on that it wasn't designed to the minimum standards of the code. That's the issue."

Dubay said his plan reviewer is consulting with architect Brad Waters in identifying problem areas for Waters to make the necessary changes to the plans. Lankford said changes were recently received from Waters.

Dubay said his plan reviewer isn't getting all the information she needs from Waters.

"So we need to put the pressure on our architect," Cramer suggested, to which Dubay replied, "I think that's where all the responsibility lies."

When Commissioner Betty Fear asked about when the plans were submitted to the state for review, Dubay said one set of plans was received in March, but four sets are required, and those weren't received until May 24. The plan reviewer then submitted comments on June 11. Dubay said by law, the state has 21 working days to review the plans or the plans are approved as submitted.

Dubay urged the commission to put pressure on the architect: "That's where the holdup is right now."

When the telephone conference was over, it was clear to the commission that construction wouldn't commence immediately.

Commissioner Gordon Johnston said, "I think I'll throw up."

Lankford reminded the commission that it is paying Hogan and Associates for managing the construction project as well as its role as the general contractor. Lankford said the county needs to hold a meeting with the architect and contractor to discuss these issues, to which the commission agreed. Although the commission couldn't reach Waters by telephone Monday, he was scheduled to be in Sublette County later in the week, Lankford said.

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