Niles officials upset building repairs are taking so long

NILES — Some city officials are upset with the amount of time it has taken to put a new roof on the Safety Service building, but the law director said the company doing the work has honored the contract in its job performance.

Campopiano Roofing was awarded a $341,000 roofing bid to replace roofs on the Niles fire substation, Safety Service Building, which includes Niles Municipal Court, and structures at Waddell and Stevens parks. City Council members Linda Marchese, D-3rd Ward, and Al Cantola, D-4th Ward, questioned if there is any way the Twinsburg-based Campopiano Roofing can be taken off the job.

“I’m not happy with them at all,” said Marchese, who questioned if the city could prevent the contractor from doing the work on the other buildings.

Law Director Terry Swauger said the roofing company hasn’t violated its contract and any delays have been weather related. The city awarded the job to the company through a bidding process and cannot legally take them off of it, Swauger said.

“They can’t work when it’s below 40 degrees because the warranty on the roof requires 40-degree temperatures,” Swauger said. “Otherwise you’re putting it in and there would be no warranty. Any time there is a bad weather day they can request credit for that day and get an extension for that day. They’ve done that and submitted the proper paperwork to our project manager who has recommended approval after verifying the weather with the National Weather Service. “

Kevin Campopiano, operations manager, said during a telephone interview that he understands it’s become a “hot-button issue,” but his crews are doing what they can to get the work done.

The roofing membrane cannot be glued when temperatures are below 40 degrees, he said. When the old roof was torn off, it was discovered that much of the roof decking had deteriorated from existing leaks and neglect, and this, coupled with cold weather, has hampered construction progress, Campopiano said.

“If we get two days with temperatures above 40 degrees, we will be done,” Campopiano said.

In the meantime, firefighters have been displaced from their living quarters at the building because of leaks and falling construction debris. They are now living at the Niles senior center, with events at the center being relocated to the city Wellness Center.

Two city firefighters addressed city council Wednesday about the living conditions at the fire department.

Firefighter Jory Ramer, who is president of the union representing Niles firefighters, said the roofing contractor has had four months to complete the job and on the days crews have been there, it has only been two or three men on the roof doing the work. Ramer thanked the city for its response to the situation, but he said the department hopes there is a push to fix any damage that has been done.

“All we ask is that you make our home clean, dry and safe again,” Ramer said.

Firefighter Andy Bickerstaff urged city council to take the matter seriously because having clean, safe living quarters are necessary to retain a young workforce. One young, well-qualified firefighter already left, Bickerstaff said.

“How are we going to keep this younger generation of firefighters wanting to work for the city?” Bickerstaff said. “What do we have to entice them? Roofs falling in? Bad morale? Low pay?”

Ed Stredney, director of public service, said an outside contractor will be brought in to rip out carpeting, clean and replace ceiling tiles.