Originally created 02/28/01

Building plans face new changes



A month after vowing to crack down on the number of change orders coming from the Columbia County's courthouse annex and jail expansion, county officials approved 15 more Tuesday night.

"I don't like change orders but sometimes they are necessary," said County Commissioner Diane Ford, who serves as chairwoman of the Public Works Committee, which considered the change orders. The committee must approve all change orders before they are forwarded to the full county commission.

Change orders are alterations to the original plans for a project and often require spending more money.

Counting the change orders approved at the meeting, the $13.5 million jail has had 55 change orders amounting to about $324,200. Some of Tuesday night's change orders included $24,438 to redesign the center's roof so it will drain correctly.

The $11 million courthouse annex has had 15 change orders totaling $324,800. Included Tuesday night was $1,256 for a hoisting beam in the elevator shaft. The beam would be used to support the elevator during repairs.

Officials say both projects are still within industry standards for budgets of their size: 2 to 5 percent of the overall contracts.

Commissioners say they'll discuss some of the change orders when they negotiate with the builder and architect at the completion of the project.

"I can assure you all this is being documented, records are being kept and we have a group watching each and every one of these change orders," Mrs. Ford said.

Earlier this year, the county created a Construction Management Team, which oversees the county's building projects, including the courthouse annex and jail expansion.

Reach Jason B. Smith at (706) 868-1222, Ext. 115.