Housing Authority renegotiates roofing job

The Altoona Housing Authority has renegotiated its contract with a Hollidaysburg builder who missed a pair of deadlines for re-roofing most of the buildings in the Fairview Hills development, agreeing to pay more for the work, while adding a new deadline.

The authority will pay J.R. Brown Construction up to $50,000 in addition to the $477,000 price in the original contract to finish the job, which now must be done by Oct. 1, according to authority officials at a recent meeting.

“I appreciate the Housing Authority having faith in my company and me, allowing me to finally move forward,” company owner Jim Brown said by phone a few days later.

The original deadline to complete the 28 buildings was Dec. 31, 2019, according to authority solicitor Bill Haberstroh.

Brown asked for an extension based on weather issues, and the authority granted one until Oct. 30, Haberstroh said.

COVID-19 caused problems getting labor and supplies, and that led to missing the second deadline, Brown indicated.

“The delays in materials last year were ridiculous,” Brown said.

Even now, it’s difficult to get some materials, including large orders of plywood, he said.

There were manpower shortages even before the pandemic, with subsequent unemployment compensation tending to aggravate the shortages, according to Brown.

Company workers weren’t consistent in showing up at Fairview Hills, according to authority Maintenance Supervisor Greg Stiteler.

There were also issues with quality of work, Haberstroh said.

Stiteler will help oversee the project for the authority, including price verifications.

There are 10 roofs left to finish.

If Brown fails to complete the job under the new agreement, the authority will notify the project’s bond company, which would then become responsible for finishing, according to Haberstroh.

The quality issues were essential punch list items, common on any job, according to Brown.

The company completed the most challenging parts of the job first — the buildings with the steepest and most complex roofs — a strategy that probably made things look worse for it, Brown said.

Because of that strategy, however, the rest of the job should be straightforward, he said.

The board renegotiated the contract after weighing the extra cost of sticking with Brown vs. the hassle and additional costs of rebidding the remainder of the work, according to Haberstroh.

“I look forward to getting the job done,” Brown said. “I’m happy we could work things out.”

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 814-949-7038.


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