Weather affecting progress at Avita project in Bellville

CLEAR FORK VALLEY — Work at area construction sites locally has been a challenge for most, given recent chilling temperatures and snow.

The possible break, which is supposed to bring some warmer air, is a boon to workers at the Avita site outside Bellville.

The building which will house doctors’ offices has been framed in.

But a handful of workers was scraping off snow last week, in anticipation of a possible full work days.

Mike Obringer, of Studer Obringer, said the “guys up there,” referring to workers on lifts and the rooftop, know when it’s safe to work.

He said it was the consensus that some days wouldn’t work. There was ice on trusses in the building, he said.

Obringer and two workers were at the site Thursday of last week He said it took them three hours to rid trusses and other elements of three inches of snow.

The crew from his company probably lost two and a half weeks of work time because of the weather, he said.

The one full week between Christmas and New Year’s Day were lost, he said. Other weeks they couldn’t work several days.

He said if his crew had “serious deadline concerns” the weather would have created a bigger issue.

Some work crews have money built into their contracts to compensate for winter work. That doesn’t apply to his contract, he said.

A somewhat odd thing got in the way of Studer Obringer starting construction more promptly. The area couldn’t be disturbed because of the migration of the Indiana bat.

Obringer said his construction trailer was at the site several weeks, while they were waiting for word that the bat had safely left the area.

He said he doesn’t have a problem with looking out for wildlife.

The rough carpentry at the building is done, Obringer said. And more than 90 per cent of the permanent bracing has been installed. Roof sheeting is in place.

The target date for completion of the building is the end of July.

Obringer said with four months of favorable weather there shouldn’t be a problem.

Things like siding, curbing and paving will have to be completed, also.

To put on roofing, the requirement of a minimum temperature has to be honored, he said. Warranties for shingles say that a certain temperature must be there, or sealant on the back won’t be activated, he said.

There are seven subcontractors working on the project, Obringer said. They are for the site, plumbing, hvac (heating, ventilation and air conditioning), electricity, paving, drywall and interior and casework (cabinetry).

The subcontractors all have worked with Obringer before, he said.

This is the first job for Avita Studer Obringer has done, he said, and he is “grateful for the opportunity.”

The architect for the project regularly checks in, Obringer said. This is the Seckel Group.

Various inspections have occurred during the course of the project, Obringer said.

Every time the workers poured concrete a “third party” comes and drills test cylinders. An area that had been a slope at the edge of the site has to be checked to see if the ground has been properly “compacted,” he said.

This is necessary to be sure footings have the proper support.

Chuck Beer working from a lift to clean trusses at the Avita health care center building under construction. Louise Swartzwalder | Bellville Star Beer working from a lift to clean trusses at the Avita health care center building under construction. Louise Swartzwalder | Bellville Star