Who pays for apparent design flaw at VIC?


As reported by Historic City News on October 8, 2009, a portion of the St. Augustine & St. Johns County Visitor Information Center has been closed for repairs made necessary by an apparent design flaw in the HVAC system serving the restrooms and entrance lobby.

Now that commissioners have approved the expenditure of $100,000 for immediate mold remediation, the question is “Who is going to pay for these damages?”

A ceiling collapse over the restrooms revealed excessive moisture in the overhead ventilation and air-conditioning systems.

The repairs will correct problems attributed to air conditioning ducts that have been sweating from excess humidity.

The problem was first detected in late September when employees noticed water stains and what appeared to be microbial growth on the interior ceiling. A thorough inspection by Skyetec, an indoor environmental consulting firm, recommended a comprehensive evaluation of the HVAC system and alleviation of the microbial growth.

As soon as the extent of the problem was evident, the decision was made to close the facilities and initiate immediate repairs.

At their regular meeting last night, the St. Augustine City Commission voted to make any needed repairs to the building as well as approved the hiring of a construction litigation attorney to oversee who’s going to pay for an apparent design flaw.

“This project was handled by outside contractors,” City Attorney Ron Brown told commissioners, “and right now there’s a lot of finger-pointing among them.”

In 2005 and 2006, the Visitor Information Center underwent extensive renovations as part of the construction of the adjacent Historic Downtown Parking Facility. The parking facility and the Visitor Information Center, together a nearly $20 million project, were designed and constructed by Perry-McCall Construction, Inc., Walker Parking Consultants, Les Thomas Architect, Inc., Halback Design Group, and Dixon and Associates Architects.

While corrections are made, portable restrooms have been placed outside the VIC. More upscale temporary facilities are expected to be set later this week.

Photo credit: © 2009 Historic City News photographer Kerry McGuire

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