Unity adds $105K to public works garage project, awaits new trusses | TribLIVE.com
Westmoreland

Unity adds $105K to public works garage project, awaits new trusses

Jeff Himler
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Jeff Himler | Tribune-Review
Splintered trusses remained in place at the under-construction Unity Township public works garage Thursday, April 11, 2019, as investigators looked for what caused them to fall earlier that week.

Unity Township Supervisors this week approved more than $105,000 in extra construction on the township’s replacement public works garage.

But major work on the building was on hold pending replacement of roof trusses that collapsed in two stages after they were installed last month. The building is being erected on the footprint of a previous structure destroyed in a 2017 arson that has yet to result in an arrest.

According to township engineer Dan Schmitt, insurance company representatives have completed their investigation at the building site overlooking the township office but have not yet reported on what caused the 42 wooden trusses to collapse. No one was hurt when 13 of the trusses collapsed and splintered on the evening of April 7 and the remainder fell the following morning.

Schmitt said the township wants to have all new trusses installed for the roof, replacing those that fell as well as others that were delivered but weren’t yet in place.

“We had some concern with how they were being stored during this delayed process,” he said of the trusses. “There’s a requirement that they have to be protected from the weather if it exceeds seven days. They’re also to be placed on even ground, and we think some areas up there were unevenly supported.”

He said some plumbing was being removed and will have to be replaced because insurers could not certify it wasn’t damaged by the falling trusses.

While waiting for the new trusses, crews were constructing an unaffected carport and working on lintels for garage doors and on a trench drain in the center of the building. “It’s a minimal amount, but there are things going on,” Schmitt said.

The supervisors on Thursday approved additional work items totaling $105,839 by general contractor Walter Mucci Construction. Schmitt believes the township should pay for only $600 in extra insulation in a bathroom wall while other items should be covered under the township’s insurance policy for the original building.

Other extra work includes: Replacement of underground drainage pipes damaged in the fire or the subsequent demolition of the charred building; upgrading of roof shingles to meet warranty requirements; using additional stone under the concrete flooring; using concrete instead of asphalt to pave an area under a lean-to structure.

Bob Biter Electrical will receive an extra $516 to cover exposed receptacles in the garage but also saw an $8,487 reduction to its contract because of changes made to the office portion of the building.

A second round of advertising elicited no bids for installing a sprinkler system required under updated building codes.

“We’re in negotiation with a sprinkler contractor to come up with a proposal,” said township Solicitor Gary Falatovich. “We hope to have that soon.”

Until the public works building is replaced, township crews will continue to work out of rented space at two separate locations.

The township’s insurer, Cincinnati Insurance, has offered a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to a conviction in the arson.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Westmoreland
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