Last updated: January 14. 2014 11:40AM - 1257 Views
Kevin Boozer Staff Writer

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WINNSBORO — The retaining wall surrounding the county’s new football field at Drawdy Park came tumbling down Monday morning.

County Administrator Milton Pope said at the time that the county was not sure the cause of the failure, but in his opinion the heavily saturated ground from recent rains likely contributed.

Pope said the county contacted the contractor hired out by S2, the county’s project manager, and that Monday morning the county reached an agreement that the wall would be repaired at no cost to the county.

That means the county project continues to be on budget at $280,000. An additional $41,000 is needed to fence in the property and the county charged $5,737 to haul dirt to the site.

Pope said “the County does have a written signed warranty drafted by the County Attorney which went into effect on September 27, 2013 and covers all work for 1 year, ‘the engineer hereby agrees that its work and services as they relate to the football field and retaining wall will be guaranteed and certified for a period of up to one year from the date of completion of the project.’”

Pope said the structural drawings were produced by an engineering firm and were stamped for approval. He said to the best of his knowledge the construction company followed those drawings.

Sam Savage with S2 Engineering and Consulting of Irmo said his company was hired by the county to manage the project under a set budget and for a maintenance-type contract otherwise.

“Our job was to oversee getting the wall done. If a portion of the wall collapsed, the construction company did the work, warranties the work and will fix it at no cost to the county,” Savage said.

Savage held an open bid process with three companies for the earth work and retaining wall construction at Drawdy Park. A licensed practicing engineer who is approved as a licensed contractor, Savage also retained the services of an engineer who specializes in retaining walls to draw up the plans that, to his knowledge, Four Brothers followed during the construction process.

He maintained the work was done with proper permitting and in accordance with the design engineer’s plans.

“In 10 to 12 years as a practicing engineer, I have never had a situation like this one,” he said.

As a general contractor he is licensed to do block work, asphalt and other work up to a certain price amount, qualifying him to oversee projects for the county per the request of former county administrator Phil Hinely.

Savage said Four Brothers Construction was experienced with compacting work and had the lowest bid of the three companies he contacted.

Savage said it was his first time working with the engineer who drew up the plans but that the engineer had a reputation established from work on retaining walls throughout the Columbia area, including at least one hospital.

Savage did not speculate on what might have caused a nearly 100 foot portion of the wall to collapse.

Per S2 Engineering and Consulting of Irmo, the work was subcontracted out to Four Brothers Construction. According to LLR, Four Brothers is authorized only to perform work in the drywall install/repair and carpentry areas.

“So far as we can tell, everything that was supposed to be done was done (with construction) but there was a heavy rain event (as dirt was settling from the construction process) and the event happened,” Savage said.

Shelia Pickett, director of procurement for the county, said the Drawdy Park project was assigned by then-county administrator Phil Hinely. She said the county has several contractors it uses for particular projects on an as-needed basis per an indefinite delivery contract. S2 was assigned the park.

Pickett said her office put in a request for qualifications for engineering services and when the Drawdy Park project came up, the administrator awarded S2 the job.

The Fairfield County Public Works building, the probation and parole building and the county voter registration building are all projects the firm completed for the county over the years.

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