More problems for city hall roof project

MARIETTA – A crew of Marietta firefighters had returned from a call just after midnight Tuesday morning when they discovered the kitchen area on the second floor of their fire station at 301 Putnam St. had been flooded.

“There was water pouring out of the ceiling and all over the floor,” said Lt. Larry Bargeloh. “We grabbed a trash can and a large mop bucket to put under the leak, and both were soon filled to the top with water.”

He said the rainstorm continued for some time before finally slacking off, then the crew spent most of Tuesday morning mopping up the mess, which included soaked ceiling tiles and other debris.

Bargeloh said a foreman from Canton-based Buxton Roofing, contractor on the current city hall roof replacement project, including the fire department roof, offered to have his crew help with the mop-up.

“But I told him we could do it. They had a lot more to worry about on the roof,” he said.

Tuesday’s incident was at least the third time a portion of the city hall roof has sprung a major leak during heavy rains since Buxton Roofing began the project in mid-July.

The first two leaks occurred in the flat roof area above the second floor city police offices and hallway in the main section of the city hall building. One of those leaks also found its way into the police dispatch office which forced that office to be moved into the much drier former city law director’s office near the front of the building.

There have been no more leaks reported in that area, but now the fire department roof is leaking.

“I got a call at 1:35 a.m. Tuesday from the police department that the roof was leaking over the fire department,” city engineer Joe Tucker said Wednesday. “We got more than four inches of rain overnight, which is probably in excess of a 25-year storm, and that’s an incredibly huge amount of water.”

He said in spite of the heavy rain the roof still should not have leaked.

“My understanding is that the roof was leaking around a roof drain that was plugged,” Tucker said. “There was four inches of water standing on the roof over the fire department parking bays.”

A “scupper,” or drainage opening supposed to be installed in the roof wall, would have provided some relief for the clogged roof drain, he said.

After the initial two city hall roof leaks last month, Tucker had the roof work checked to determine whether storm water had infiltrated beneath the newly-installed roofing.

“At least 75 to 80 percent of that roofing had to come off and be thrown away, and new material installed,” he said. “Unfortunately we suspect it will be the same story for the fire department roof.”

Tucker said he hates to see Buxton having to deal with the weather-related issues that have cropped up during the roofing job, but he added that the city’s contract includes set specifications for the project that must be followed.

“We’ll end up with a 20-year warranty on the city hall roof, and don’t want to be dealing with this situation down the road,” he said.

The $216,000 roofing project is the first phase toward a total renovation of the city hall building that will also make the facility compliant with current Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility standards.

Following the two earlier leaks last month the city also hired a consultant to assess the potential for mold growth in the building’s interior.

“The report back said there would definitely be some mold issues,” Tucker said. “But I don’t consider that report complete now, because we’re probably going to have to have the consultant back to look at the area below the fire department leak.”

He said the city needs to find out how much mold will be inside the building as well as what will be required to remediate that mold.

“We had to do some mold remediation during the municipal court renovation, too,” Tucker said. “Some remediation is as simple as tossing out wet carpeting and cleaning the floor areas beneath the carpet. But we’ll also have to check other areas like the HVAC ducts that may have to be thrown away.”

As for additional cost to the project due to the roof leakage issues, Tucker said that would likely be in excess of $20,000 at this point, but he noted that figure does not include the cost of any mold remediation or the most recent leak in the fire department roof.

“I guess if there’s any silver lining here, it’s that we’re getting all of this taken care of before the interior renovation work begins on city hall,” he added.