Engelberth at work at Rockingham Library project
By Susan Smallheer
Staff Writer | January 23,2013
Len Emery Photo
Construction equipment and building materials are scattered around at the Rockingham Public Library in Bellows Falls.
BELLOWS FALLS — The town’s $2.9 million contract with Baybutt Construction Co. is “over and done” and workers from a new construction firm were on the scene Tuesday to “button up” work on the Rockingham Free Public Library, which is under renovation.
Town Manager Tim Cullenen said that Baybutt Construction of Keene, N.H., had not contacted the town since the town sent it a letter declaring the firm was in default on the $2.9 million contract.
Baybutt had a week to bring the contract into compliance, and it had 10 days to keep the town from bringing in another construction firm, Cullenen said.
“We haven’t heard anything. It’s over and done,” he said.
Cullenen said that workers from Engelberth Construction Inc. of Colchester were at the library Tuesday morning to “button up” the library until the town decides on what route to take to complete the renovation project. Cullenen said it was a possibility that the town would take legal action against Baybutt. “It’s a possibility, but it’s yet to be determined,” he said, saying the town would rely on advice from Town Attorney Stephen Ankuda of Springfield, who couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday.
“The most important thing is to get the building closed up,” he said.
A visit to the library Tuesday revealed equipment and machinery and building materials abandoned and dumped in place. A security fence around the portion of the library still under renovation was far from secure.
Cullenen said the town had hired Engelberth on a time and materials contract, which he estimated would cost between $10,000 and $15,000. He said he expected Engelberth would be working at the library for a couple of weeks to get things in place, with an emphasis on safety issues.
The town asserted Baybutt was in default of the contract because it had failed to pay subcontractors on the project and had failed to take out a payment and performance bond on the project, despite the town paying $21,000 toward it. Subcontractors have filed liens close to $500,000 against Baybutt and the town over the library renovation project.
The town has sent a clear message to the subcontractors that their beef is with Baybutt and not the town, since the town had paid Baybutt for their work.
The town has largely taken the management of the construction project from the library’s board of trustees, Cullenen said. The library building is owned by the town, in fact the town approved the $2.9 million bond in May 2011. The library trustees, Cullenen said, are in charge of the library operations and programming.
Cullenen said his priority was “getting the project moving forward,” and not finding out who was responsible for the bond foul-up.
“I don’t care who dropped the ball. That was six months ago,” Cullenen said.