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City discovers mistakes in Justice Center construction

What appears to be flaws in the initial construction of Bonney Lake's Justice Center may be costing the city up to $10,000 per year in energy costs, according to city officials.

City Administrator Don Morrison said this week that a failure on the part of the contractors to adequately install vapor wrap, sealants and screens has led to heat loss and an infiltration of flies in the two-year-old building.

The cost of repairing the measures is estimated at $57,133 and Mayor Neil Johnson said he plans to pursue any legal means he can to recoup the money.

"We have to hope someone will be accountable," he said. "We can't let taxpayers take a hit on this."

"It's been a problem ever since we got it," Morrison said of the building.

Morrison said the first indication that something was amiss came in the winter of 2011 when staff noticed hundreds of dead flies lining the third floor of the building, which was unoccupied at the time.

"We couldn't really figure out where they were getting in," he said.

This winter, the same thing happened and the city began looking closer at the building, including using an infrared camera to look for heat loss.

The conclusion the city has come to is that the vapor wrap, which works as an insulation on the building, was not installed fully and properly. While it went up the walls, it was also supposed to go around the under the eaves of the building and it appears that was not completed.

"It wasn't sealed well," Morrison said.

The improper sealing is causing the building, which was certified as an LEED "green" building, to lose heat, raising energy costs an estimated $10,000 per year.

Morrison said the city did not notice the deficiencies when it accepted the building and moved in April 2011 because of the time of year during which the move happened.

"These things didn't come to light until several months after," Morrison said.

The fix for the problem is expensive because the upper, red exterior wall panels around the building will have to be removed ad reinstalled after the wrap, sealant and screens, a process Morrison called "pretty labor intensive."

Johnson said he was disappointed in the contractors and said he plans to push for legal action to rectify the situation, though he hopes the contractors will "do the right thing."

"The problem is they didn't do it right," he said. "I won't stop until we get something out of it."

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