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No more shoddy work found in DeKalb County nursing home renovation

DeKALB – The architect for the DeKalb County Rehab and Nursing Center expansion said he believes the 20-year-old shoddy construction work discovered in February is the last hiccup to be found from a past contractor.

Architect John Heimbach of Rockford-based Larson and Darby Group said after a county government meeting June 6 he was not confident contractor Rignland-Johnson Construction had run into all of the incomplete work from when the facility was constructed 18 years ago.

However, the current contractor has not run into further issues since the incomplete work was discovered, Heimbach said Tuesday.

The original contractor, Schwendener Construction, is now defunct.

An extra $6,500 in construction costs were tacked onto the expansion project after contractors ran into incomplete drywall installation and fireproofing in February. Other issues contractors found were sprinkler pipes that stuck out through the roof and needed to be removed – a $2,443 process that was approved by the DeKalb County Public Building Commission on Tuesday.

On Feb. 11 and 19, it was discovered that there was no fireproofing on some of the steel beams in the facility and incomplete drywall, according to county documents. About $500,000 has been set aside for unexpected construction issues, according to project’s budget.

DeKalb County Administrator Gary Hanson said at the June 6 meeting that too much time had passed for the original contractor to face repercussions from the incomplete work.

“They didn’t do the work they were supposed to, got paid for it, and now we’re paying again,” Hanson said. “We got cheated.”

Workers will start setting up footings for the 15,400-square-foot Medicare Transitional Unit on the east side of the nursing home as early as Wednesday, said Jeff Blanck, superintendent of Ringland-Johnson Construction, during the DeKalb County Public Building Commission meeting Tuesday. Footings support the foundation of a building and prevent settling.

“The weather has been a little more forgiving for us, which I appreciate,” Blanck said.

However, interior remodeling for the expansion will be on hold until the Illinois Department of Public Health ensures the renovation plans will bring the building up to code for temporary occupancy, Blanck said.

The expansion will include additional rooms, an activity center, an upgraded fire alarm system, a nursing call system, a larger chiller and a new boiler system. The transitional care unit will add 18 rooms to the 83,000-square-foot facility.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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