“We had a late, late spring, and then we’ve had an inordinate amount of rain through May and June. It’s been pretty wet, so really, that inhibits your ability to build, to get the parking lots and other things moving along,” he explains. “The winter has given us grief, the spring has given us grief, and now summer gives us grief.”
The final big project before completion is the parking lot, which has been awarded to DGS Astro Paving. The plan is to have that started on July 15, which would mean completion by the third week of August, weather permitting.
“We’re really trying to get coordinated to get the parking lot started here next week, but with the way the weather’s going, I’m not sure that’s going to happen for the 15th or not. We’ll just have to see.” Rogers says. “It’s so weather dependent. It’s been killing us every time it dries out a big rainstorm comes in and fills it back with water again.”
He explains that a little rain doesn’t hurt construction, but the downpours Fort St. John has received recently keep the ground too wet to work on.
“It’s the front apparatus slab in front of the building that has to be poured and it needs 28 days to cure. Those are the kind of things that are going to delay,” maintains Rogers. “You just can’t do it until you get some decent ground to work with.”
The parking lot may also have been slightly delayed by the decision to bundle the project with a new sidewalk and streetlights, which is easier to have done by one contractor, but can take longer to order materials.
While the City is “at the mercy of the elements” when it comes to the exterior of the building, weather hasn’t had any effect on the interior. Work inside is “rapidly closing in on completion”, down to the last details with cabinets currently going in and flooring installation starting this week.
“It’s a lot more done than it looks,” argues Rogers.
Regardless of delays, Rogers says there’s no rush as the current fire hall is still completely operational.
“The fire hall will be done when the fire hall is finished,” he states. We’re in an existing fire hall, so we’re able to operate without any problems. There’s not really anything you could push to make it faster; it’s not going to stop raining.”
He will be reporting to City Council on August 26, when he expects to have a “really good idea” of the final cost of the project, which has an overall budget of $12 million, including $9.8 million for the building itself. He has previously said that if the new fire hall does go over budget, it won’t be by much.
Should the parking lot be done by then, landscaping can be done at the same time as furniture is moved in. The tin cladding on the exterior will also be put up last, to avoid any damage.