Utility Work Delays Asbestos Removal at South Orange Village Hall

February 11, 2014 at 12:13 PM

UPDATED Feb. 15, 2014: SOUTH ORANGE, NJ – Issues with utilities delayed the start of asbestos abatement for Village Hall renovations, but work should get underway by the end of the month, according to the construction management firm.

Mitchell Fritz, the project manager with J. Shapiro and Associates, gave an update on the village hall project at Monday's board of Trustees meeting. The projected completion date for the project is December 2015. See the timeline here.

He said the net number of days lost between Nov. 25, the original target date for starting the work, and Feb. 25, the new date, show up as the difference in “completing in October and completing in December,” he said.

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“There were a number of items that precluded an aggressive start to the (asbestos abatement) work,” Fritz said.

Although the contract was awarded Sept. 23 and village offices opened in their new location on Oct. 7, the contractor had “administrative activities,” including permits, that he had to take care of, Fritz said. In addition, items left behind in the move to temporary quarters needed to be removed, and the water, heating system and natural gas service had to be shut down.

However, according to Fritz, the biggest roadblock was the need to turn off the existing underground electrical and arrange for temporary electrical service in the building, which had to be coordinated with Public Service Gas and Electric.

“That why you don’t see a lot going on over at Village Hall,” he said.

“We’re projecting the temporary service can be turned on by Feb. 24,” Fritz said. “If that happens, the contractor can start work the next day.” Under the contract, the company has 60 days to complete the work.

The village is moving forward with the bid process for the rehabilitation work. Fritz said about 15 companies have requested materials for the “pre-qualification” process, which would generate “a qualified field or roster of contractors that would offer price proposals,” he said.

Fritz said that the completion date has been pushed back two months from the October 2015 projection. “When we look at the whole timeline, the slippage hasn’t been that great,” he said. “It just feels a little longer.”

Village Administrator Barry Lewis Jr. said that “we’re committed to keeping it on a tight schedule.” He added that it will not be possible to accurately estimate the renovation budget until the contractor is hired. “Until you get the bid, the largest piece is the puzzle is outstanding.”

The total cost of the renovation has been estimated at roughly $6.5 million, Lewis said.

In other action, the board:

learned that due to an error in the public notice advertisement for changes in the Central Business District Redevelopment Plan that would allow medical and professional offices, the trustees needed to repeat the process. The board voted 6-0 to reintroduce the amendment.

approved the salary ranges for employees covered by the contract with the Office and Professional Employees International Union. See that document here.

struck a tabled resolution regarding options for the new rescue squad building. “The board is moving in a different direction than what’s in this resolution,” Trustee Sheena Collum said.

awarded a contract to Emedios Concessions for operation of the concession stand at the municipal pool. It was the only bidder. “We’re going back to a vendor we had several years ago,” Trustee Steve Schnall said. “We’re very happy that he’s back.”

named Trustee Mark Rosner as acting village president for a term of one year in the event of the village president’s absence.

UPDATE: A previous version of this article misstated the estimated cost of the Village Hall renovation. It is $6.5 million, not $8 million.


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