Unfinished business at Aspen’s Burlingame?
December 8, 2008
ASPEN ” Even as the city of Aspen plans for the second phase of the Burlingame Ranch affordable housing project, it is still dealing with unresolved issues on the first phase.
The city has sent several notices to Grand Junction-based contractor Shaw Builders regarding ongoing issues and is currently withholding payments to the company, according to Steve Bossart, the city’s asset project manager.
But in a resolution passed Monday night, the City Council promised the Burlingame Homeowners’ Association (HOA) that it will work with the existing contractor ” or hire a new one ” to ensure all outstanding issues are resolved before handing oversight to the association.
Such a resolution is unusual, Bossart said, and was done at the request of the HOA to assure them their concerns would be addressed. Once construction is completed and the city walks away, any ongoing maintenance at the project is the HOA’s financial responsibility.
Bossart said that outstanding contractor issues include a failure to produce “as-built drawings” of the landscaping systems (which alert future maintenance workers to the presence of irrigation systems), uncertainty over whether seeded lawn areas have “taken,” a fire-alarm system in one building that is sending false signals, and concerns over how roof installations will hold up with ice and snow. The roofs were evaluated by an independent roofing engineer who found some issues with them, according to Bossart. While acknowledging these issues, Bossart noted that, in general, the buildings are “pretty top-notch.”
Bossart said the city has held back enough money ” between $1.2 million and $1.5 million ” from Shaw Builders to pay another contractor to finish any outstanding work.
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It has also sent out two notice letters, starting Sept. 26. Notice letters are the first step in a legal process that would eventually enable the city to cancel its contract with Shaw and hire a new contractor. The letters concern the contractor’s failure to achieve “substantial completion,” and problems with the installation of the roofs, said Bossart.
But Bossart said so far, Shaw Builders has responded to the letters and is working on the ongoing issues. Of the list generated by the city this fall ” with the help of Burlingame homeowners ” Bossart estimated that 60 percent of the items had been completed. Of the 40 percent left, Bossart noted that the contractor believes it has finished many of the issues. It will not be possible to determine if some items have been completed, such as lawn seeding and roof installation, until the spring, Bossart said.
The city of Aspen approved an additional outlay of funds Monday that it hopes will help it save money on the next phases of Burlingame.
The Aspen City Council approved a $206,000 contract with Aspen-based Poss Architecture and Planning. Like Carbondale-based DHM Design, Poss will advise the city’s construction experts group (CEG). The volunteer group is currently researching cost-saving measures for the remaining Burlingame phases.
Poss was working on the original design for the second and third phases of Burlingame when the City Council directed the firm to stop.
The addition of the Poss contract brings the total value of contracts for the CEG effort to $411,252. It’s an investment the city expects to recoup, and then some, in actual construction savings on the next phases, according to a memo from City Manager Steve Barwick and affordable housing project manager Chris Everson.