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Architect responds to childcare director’s claims

By ANDREA FURLONG

Since the childcare directors at the Williamsburg Child Development Center aired their concerns over the center’s unfinished state May 24, architect Steve Trost has addressed the directors’ claims.

In two e-mails, both made available at the Williamsburg City Council’s June 14 meeting, Trost responded to  claims made by the directors, including his absence from the site and halted communication with the directors. In an e-mail dated May 25, Trost implied that he did not need to be on site until the project is ready for its final inspection. He did not deny that he had not visited the center since its substantial completion date Feb. 24. Trost said he was awaiting word from general contractor Prostruct for a request for a final inspection. He noted  according to the contract, Prostruct had to finish grading the parking lot and install fencing before final completion is achieved. He added that both jobs were dependent on the city’s completion of a drainage system for the center.

On the subject of Trost’s alleged unwillingness to return phone calls and e-mails from directors, the architect admitted he had room for improvement.

“AHTS has tried to return calls, but will take some responsibility that not all call(s) have been addressed immediately or directly with the directors,” he wrote.

Trost added he would improve communication by contacting building committee representative Tim McMullin on a weekly basis “until the project has final inspection from this point on, unless there is another designated representative to whom contact should be made,” he said.

In response to directors’ claims that incorrect information relayed between the Trost and Prostruct led to errors on the project, Trost provided an in depth answer. The directors claimed in a letter they presented to the council  May 24  that Trost did not relay changes in playground measurements to Prostruct, which led to incorrect grading of the area by Prostruct. Trost said that he believed he sent a copy of the playground measurements to Prostruct, but added the original contract did not include measurements for playground slabs. Trost said if Prostruct had graded the playground area according to the original site plan, it would have worked with the architect’s revised playground area plans. He alleged that “it appears that the grading was not done according to the original site plan.” He recommended subtracting the appropriate amount of funds from Prostruct’s contract if regarding would cost more than the price to grade according to the original site plan.

In regard to incorrect cabinets being stalled in the center’s infant room, Trost admitted this was due to an architectural error.

“There was a conflict within the drawings as to the design of the cabinets,” he said.

Trost denied the directors’ claims that he insisted the city or directors pay the $1,000 to fix the situation.

“AHTS never intended to indicate that this is a cost to the owner,” he said.

The directors also alleged that misinformation by Trost resulted in an infant room without carpeting. The architect said the original drawings prior to bidding called for vinyl tile in the infant room. He noted that “none of the six addenda (which were sent to the city and building representatives) referred to any changes in the finishes at the infant room.”

As to four months of no monthly meetings over the progress of the site, Trost answered it is standard practice to discontinue such meetings after the substantial completion inspection, which was done Feb. 24.

“To expect to have regular meetings, minutes observations based on a monthly basis is beyond the contractual arrangement and the general conditions of the contract, and would result in additional costs for our team and therefore the owner,” he replied.

UPDATED June 29, 2010 10:36 AM

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