Repairs at Northumberland County Building Go Way Over Budget

In City Hall

By Cecilia Nasmith/Today’s Northumberland
Extensive brick repairs and window replacements are required at 860 William Street in Cobourg, Northumberland County Council’s Public Works Committee heard at its August meeting – at a cost significantly higher than what was budgeted for.

Associate Director of Operations Adam McCue said this work is needed on the south end of the former county headquarters (now the courthouse) as the building – more than half a century old – has aged.

It was originally thought that $60,000 would be required to replace leaky windows in that section of the building. Suspecting there might be bigger issues at play, however, they asked for an additional $200,000 to be budgeted for an in-depth investigation and structural repairs.

A structural engineering firm was retained for the investigation, which found failing lintels as well as the need for some window and door replacements.

McCue described sticking doorways from the failing lintels in the door frames and leaking from the ones in the window frames. Left unaddressed, the situation will only deteriorate, he said, with the potential for windows cracking and doors unable to be opened at all.

Fixing the problem will involve removing the brickwork to get at (and repair) these failing lintels, then restoring the brickwork.

It’s not the first major structural repair on the building, he said, but it is the first one on this section of the building – which, he estimates, accounts for perhaps 15 to 20% of the building’s overall external surface.

The hope is to get the work awarded and done before winter, he said, when construction costs can definitely increase. Asked for more specifics by Warden Mandy Martin, he expressed the hope that work can begin in September and be completed by the end of October.

Eight bids were received, and the highest-ranking one – Brook Restorations Ltd. – also had the lowest overall price, McCue said. Still, that bid was much higher than anticipated. Adding a 5% contingency fund and the cost of design work already done, on top of Brook’s bid of $452,835.85 (plus tax), the project is anticipated to cost $515,000.

The committee voted to refer the matter to the regular county council meeting on Aug. 16, where they will have the opportunity to ask questions (as well as to consider the motion to authorize additional funds from the Facilities Division’s capital reserves to cover the gap between the budgeted amount and the overall cost).

Cecilia Nasmith
Author: Cecilia Nasmith

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