If you look at the clogged pipes from the Kane County Judicial Center, you begin to see the extent of the work that had to be done and what progress has been made over the past year.
There’s still a lot of work left, Kane County Operations Staff Executive Don Biggs said at Tuesday’s Kane County Committee of the Whole meeting, but 320 of 449 service issues have been addressed, and right now, the repair work is projected to be more than $430,000 under budget.
Biggs said some of the issues dated back to the building’s construction in 1991; others were related to how well the building was maintained over the years.
“Some of it was the design of the mechanical systems,” he said. “In my mind, there were some design concerns. Then, preventive maintenance procedures needed to be improved, and that was the cause of a lot of the issues.”
The laundry list of 449 issues included heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems controlled by the direct digital controls automation system, as well as items under the air-handling system, hot water system, chilled water system and exhaust-fan system.
Additional scope of the work included replacing the fire alarm system – a life-safety issue — plus cleaning of air-handling units, coils and ducts, staff training on HVAC operations and equipment maintenance and the purchasing of an Internet-based work order and preventive-maintenance system.
“We had ¾-inch pipe connects that had been clogged by fragments of dirt, branch line issues that clogged some of the pipes and filtration systems that just weren’t properly maintained,” Biggs said.
The initial estimate for the project was $1.17 million, Biggs said. So far this year, the county has spent about $392,000 in repairs and plans to spend $348,000 in 2015, “but I expect savings below that,” Biggs said.
He said some of the costs savings came from services provided by one of the low bidders on the HVAC side of the project, Mechanical Inc., as well as the training and experience of staff members and the hiring a mechanical service staff member.
“It’s great to have this person aboard,” Biggs said. “His skill set is tremendous to us.”
Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen said the discovery of the Judicial Center’s severe maintenance issues was an eye-opener.
“In an odd way, we’re very fortunate to have the experience we’ve had with the Judicial Center,” he said. “You think about the lessons learned — proper staffing, training, and again, the value of preventive maintenance.”
Lauzen said the cost of preventive maintenance versus the cost of repairs is about an 8-1 ratio, “so that’s a big deal.” He said the county is presently dealing with similar repair issues at the Kane County jail and other buildings.
Dealing with those problems required a bit of a culture change, Lauzen said.
“I was amazed at how nervous some folks were to talk about problems,” he said. “I understand we never have enough money, but if you don’t figure out how to pay for it, you’re going to have a crisis that’s going to cost eight times more.”
What was the purpose of the Project?
- Review current condition of mechanical systems
- Review existing mechanical and building automation systems
- Facility air-balancing and static pressure testing
- Review Hot and chilled water closed loop systems
- Development and Implantation of Scope of Work and action plan
- Provide cost estimates for improvements