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Crews Prep Site of Moorestown Town Hall Construction

Sambe Construction will use an alternative method—rather than the noisy, potentially disruptive rapid impact compaction—to prep the ground for construction.

Crews wrapped chain-link fence around the perimeter of the soon-to-be municipal complex Monday, as Sambe Construction prepares to break ground on the 45,000-square-foot structure later this month.

The fencing will block off virtually the entire parking lot for the library and recreation center, except for a small section outside the rec center, throughout construction, which is expected to take roughly 450 days. 

To prepare the ground for construction, crews will have to perform a "soil exchange," which involves removing the loose soil underneath the site of the old town hall and replacing it with denser soil, explained Sambe vice president Yan Girlya.

Project architects Ragan Design Group had originally recommended a process known as rapid impact compaction (RIC), in which the soil is tamped down at a very fast pace with a large machine, as the most ideal solution. This came after the discovery of several feet of poor soil conditions in the ground—the result of homes at the site, prior to the former town hall's construction, being torn down and the basements filled with debris. This presents a problem, since the new building will be larger and heavier than the previous town hall, not least of all because it will hold tens of thousands of books.

But Girlya said, while RIC is the most expeditious process—taking between seven and eight days usually—it's not always the most effective. The soil exchange, though it takes longer (about two to three week) and is more labor intensive, has a much higher rate of success.

"If the RIC is done and it doesn't work, the owner is on the hook," said Girlya, who added that the soil exchange process will not impact the project cost positively or negatively. 

The soil exchange will also benefit property owners who live near the site, who won't have to worry about their basement walls cracking from the vibrations or the noise from the RIC. 

Girlya said his crews will begin the soil exchange probably at the beginning of January. The process is not expected to impact the project timeline. 

Township manager Scott Carew praised Girlya's and Sambe's work thus far.

"He really seems to understand the urgency to get this done on time and underbudget," said Carew.

Follow all our coverage of the town hall project by visiting the Moorestown Town Hall topic page.

HomeBrew December 11, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Speaking of Mooretown Town Hall, here's how much it costs to get there: The three Democratic Town Council candidates raised and spent $17,800 on the 2012 general election campaign, according to 20-day post-election reports filed with the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission. Meanwhile, the 20-day post-election report from the joint committee of the three GOP council candidates' was not available on the NJELEC website. http://www.elec.state.nj.us/ELECReport/StandardSearch.aspx The deadline for filing the post-election report was Dec. 3. In it's most recent available report filed in late October, the GOP candidates' committee reported raising $43,200 and spending $27,700. Moorestown Republicans did report receiving a total of $6,900 on Nov. 4 in two so-called in-kind contributions for mailings from the campaign committee of incumbent GOP County Freeholder candidates Bruce Garganio and Maryann O'Brien. Democrat Greg Newcomer and Republicans Victoria Napolitano and Phil Garwood won Town Council seats last month, while Garganio and O'Brien failed in their reelection bids.
Accountability December 11, 2012 at 08:36 PM
who is minding the store here? the architect gets paid to come up with a fancy solution and then the builder decides to just dig out the bad stuff and put in good stuff but nobody owes the town any money? huh? and did town really tell the builder to do stuff that would crack neighbors houses?
Tom December 11, 2012 at 09:20 PM
The first change order and they are already behind schedule. Bravo!
Rob Scott (Editor) December 11, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Tom, Who said they're behind schedule?
Rob Scott (Editor) December 11, 2012 at 10:29 PM
Accountability, Maybe I should have made it clearer. The architect recommended the rapid impact compaction (RIC), which, if I understand correctly, presents a slight risk of causing damage to basement walls—because of the vibrations. Since they're not going with RIC, it's obviously no longer an issue.
sherlock holmes December 12, 2012 at 02:14 AM
Township manager Scott Carew praised Girlya's and Sambe's work thus far. "He really seems to understand the urgency to get this done on time and underbudget," said Carew. It seems elementary that Moorestown is headed into troubled waters. You hired a firm with a good record of beiing overbudgeted and very late. The bookies in town are betting this project will be overbudeted and late about 9 months. So, did Mr. Carew get it in writing : we will not pay any extra costs if this project is late! Wonder what this contract reads?
Bob Gorman December 12, 2012 at 04:35 AM
Rob, Is this considered a change order? If so, did Council authorize the change order or does the Town Manager have the authority to do such? Was the architect asked for his recommendation relative to the new process? If so, what was the architect's opinion about this revised process?
Accountability December 12, 2012 at 11:56 AM
so did anybody look to see if there is a cost savings or is the builder doing this out of the kindness of his heart? if it is such a good idea to just replace the bad stuff why did the arhcitects not figure that out sooner
Tom December 12, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Bob G, you don't really think anyone will give you a straight answer do you? Rob, sounds like they are behind to me. Do you have a schedule to provide the public to monitor?
sanity December 12, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Here come the naysayers, shylock, (lack of) accountability. Same 3 people, lots of screen names - sole purpose in life is to dump on Carew & council. Get a life or, better yet, go live in a town that really does have the problems you dream up for this one!!
Rob Scott (Editor) December 12, 2012 at 02:10 PM
Bob, I'm not sure whether this is considered a change order. The decision to go with this new method was made before ground was even broken (ceremonially) last week. Sambe's VP told me he and the other professionals working on the project—Greyhawk, Ragan Design Group—all discussed this and came to a consensus that this was the best way forward. Ragan recommended RIC because it was the quickest, least labor-intensive method to prep the soil; Sambe is going with the soil exchange because they believe it provides better certainty of success.
Rob Scott (Editor) December 12, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Tom, Sambe has 450 days from now (I'm not certain when the exact official start date was, but I'm pretty sure it was the groundbreaking Friday) to finish the project. Of course, that doesn't account for weather or other unforeseen complications. Sambe's VP said, though the soil exchange will take more time than the RIC, his crew can make up for it during the construction phase.
JustWondering December 12, 2012 at 04:54 PM
A change order becomes appropriate if there is a proposed modification to either the end date of the overall project schedule, or the total cost of the project. According to the information reported, there is no cost impact, and this is such a small component of the overall schedule, it is unlikely that there is a "big picture" schedule impact. So - no change order. BTW - I am not an apologist for any member of the project team. Just get concerned when folks who don't deal with these types of issues on a regular basis draw conclusions that are not necessarily apropos or based in the reality of accepted practice.

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