OC Council Debates New OCBP Building’s Roof Change; Downtown Project To Begin Next Week

OCEAN CITY – A request to approve the construction contract for the new Ocean City Beach Patrol headquarters turned into a debate over which roof product is more cost-efficient.

City Engineer Terry McGean submitted Gillis Gilkerson was previously selected to provide construction management services for the project. The design has been completed and all subcontracts have been bid out.

Under the At-Risk Construction Management format being used to construct this project, Gillis Gilkerson holds all the sub-contracts and agrees to do the work for a guaranteed price based on the value of the subcontracts plus a management fee.

The total project budget of $2.2 million includes design and preconstruction costs of $157,500, construction costs of $1,964,458, and furnishings and equipment costs of $78,000.

McGean requested the council approve the At-Risk Construction Management Contract with Gillis Gilkerson in the amount of $1,964,458.00 and to appropriate an additional $50,000 for additional IT equipment and owner contingency from fund balance.

“The good news is we are within the budget of $2.2 million for the project. However that’s it, so we are working with zero contingency. We tried very hard, both the staff and construction manager, did a very good job getting this project as close as we could to the budget,” McGean said.

While the beach patrol headquarters project, planned for Talbot Street and Philadephia Avenue, was on the table, Councilwoman Margaret Pillas asked why the metal roof of the building was changed to a shingle roof in the design.

“One of the advantages to having a construction manager on board while we do the design is as we are doing the design we are looking at the budget as we go, and during that time we realized we had budget issues and one of the ways to solve that is to go from a metal roof to more conventional shingles, so we made that decision to stay within budget,” McGean said.

According to Pillas’ research, the heat of the building increased 20 percent with a shingle roof but decreases 50 percent with a metal roof. She added a metal roof is recyclable and shingles are not.

“What I understand from EPA is 11 million tons of asphalt are produced by this country a year and accounts for 80 percent of building material waste,” Pillas said. “The council has sat up here and has been very proactive about recycling and energy. What you save on air conditioning during the summer, we will be getting our money back in the cost of the product … a metal roof is the way to go.”

Councilman Doug Cymek, a local contractor, took exception, pointing out the Town of Ocean City has adopted the 2012 Energy Code, which raises the bar significantly when it comes to insulation.

“The asphalt shingle roof is not going to last as long in this environment. It might get 15 to 20 years if we are lucky but it is recyclable. It can be ground up and turned into new shingles again. I think you will find a standing seam metal roof is far more expensive,” Cymek said.

Councilman Joe Mitrecic, also a local contractor, stated as someone who has been on both a metal and shingle roof they both collect the same amount of heat.

“You also have to remember that article was written by Northern Recycling Council, who recycles metal, so they are going to point as many advantages to having a metal roof as they can,” Mitrecic said. “As Councilman Cymek pointed out, the new requirements of the Energy Code for insulating is almost borderline ridiculous, and to insulate the attic space of a building I don’t think you are going to see much of a difference between a metal roof and a shingle roof.”

In the 10 minutes the council was discussing roof products, Council Secretary Mary Knight pulled up three articles advocating shingle roofs over metal roofs

“There are two sides to the story … our engineer department isn’t just trying to save money but the decision was based on many other facts,” Knight said.

Councilman Brent Ashley also pointed out the plan now calls for all light fixtures to be florescent instead of LED that are considered more energy efficient.

“It seems unusual to me that we are studying other buildings in town of energy costs where we have gone towards LEDs but here’s a new building where we are going florescent,” he said.

McGean reported the LED lights were pulled from the project to stay within budget.

“When they look at the building and typically when it is a new fluorescent fixture, a lot of times it doesn’t make sense to go with a LED because the cost of LED is still so high versus older fluorescent fixtures,” he said.

McGean suggested the council approve his requests and he can return with numbers regarding the difference between the two roof products for further discussion.

“We would like to break ground on Sept. 15,” he said. “We have an energy contractor on board working on some things with us right now and I can get them to give us their opinion on potential energy savings for a metal roof, and I can bring that information back to the council for you to make an informed decision.”

Cymek furthered if the money was available he would rather go with a metal roof because it stands up better to the elements and is easier to maintain.

“I don’t want to be penny wise and a pound foolish at this stage. We have a first-class structure that you designed that we are about ready to start and I want to do it the right way. Let’s hear what the numbers are and see if we can make it work” he said.

Mitrecic made a motion to approve the requests, as well as have the discussion over energy efficient materials and the costs associated return to the council. The Mayor and City Council voted unanimously to approve.

This week’s discussion comes prior to Monday’s planned ground breaking of the building, which will 10,000 square feet of space for beach patrol vehicle and equipment storage as well as office space, a multi-purpose training room and an area for the Ocean City Police Department to store bicycles.


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