County Settles with One Contractor Over JGC Problems

After a joint closed session between the Clarke County Board of Supervisors, Berryville Town Council and attorney Robert Mitchell the lawmakers have reached a settlement with one of the two parties involved in on-going problems at the new Joint Government Center building.

The agreement, if approved, will allow the builder, Brechbill & Helman Construction Company of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, to avoid litigation over its role in heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) problems that officials say have existed since the building began to be occupied more than two years ago.

Under the agreement Clarke County will receive liquidated damages from Brechbill & Helman Construction Company of $68,000 as well corrections to the HVAC system. In return Clarke County will authorize release of the contractor’s unpaid invoices of $322,627.07 including a $12,500 brick allowance claim.

However, under the agreement Brechbill & Helman will be responsible for making changes to the HVAC system in return for an additional payment of $25,000. The HVAC corrections include reversal of the coil piping, repair the casing and fan section to alleviate the improper mixing of air across the cooling coil during operation. Brechbill & Helman will also be required to insulate HVAC casings to prevent damage from condensation.

The agreement stipulates the county will hold $10,000 of the payment until the HVAC system can be tested and certified to work properly

The agreement releases Brechbill & Helman from any and all future claims and liabilities for work done on the Joint Government Center pursuant to the previous contract without releasing the any of the county’s warranty rights.

The document does not specifically address the responsibility, if any, of the building’s architect, Baughan and Baukhages Architects  of Lurray, Virginia. If any additional litigation action is taken, it is unlikely to occur before 2011.