6-Inch Error in Laying Concrete Puts Alltel Arena Project Behind Schedule

by David Smith  on Monday, Mar. 31, 2014 12:00 am  

Senior project manager Art Hunkele: “We’re going to look back and recall that there was a problem, but we solved it.”

“This doesn’t make him a bad person, and he’s certainly not running from the problem,” Hunkele says. “Throughout this process, and there have been some high-level, high-pressure meetings, the Nabholz group has maintained their heads up, have listened and have tried to do the right thing. Usually you get into these kinds of things, and they turn belligerent and adversarial. But we have not had that here.”

Several construction experts were contacted for comment about the arena problems. All were perplexed at how a mistake of such magnitude could happen.

“That’s terrible,” one said when informed of the mistake. “Those beams don’t have to be precise within a sixteenth of an inch. Even if they’re off by an inch it’s something that’s close enough. But 6 inches? That is people who can’t measure.”

Foster, the architect, says he’s not concerned with the problems encountered in the construction.

“There are adjustments that can be made [to repair the mistakes] to make up that difference so that you nor I would know the difference,” Foster says. “The project has gone really well. Always on projects even smaller than this you run into issues that need adjustment. That is very typical in any construction project.”

Willard Reese of Garver & Garver Inc., the engineering contractor on Alltel Arena, says the problems encountered are normal for any big and complicated project. “It’s pretty much about what you’d expect,” Reese says. “It’s a hard job, and it takes everybody’s best effort to get it done.”

A source who says he’s familiar with projects many times larger than Alltel Arena with many more steel embeds says he’s never had embeds off 6 inches. “To say this is normal on a job of this size, it’s not,” the source says.

Repairing the problem is “relatively easy and straightforward,” Hunkele says. AFCO Steel will begin Aug. 3 working extended hours to weld an extension onto its steel beams that are too short. The longer beams will have to be trimmed and an end-cap must be welded onto the end so they can be bolted properly onto the concrete. The welded steel beams will be just as strong as beams without welds and will meet all prescribed specifications, Hunkele says.

Neither the arena board, which oversees the project, nor Pulaski County will incur any of the extra expenses, Hunkele says.

Nabholz Building & Management’s bonding company will be forced to cover the costs associated with the error, Hunkele says. The Greenbrier contractor already has subcontracted some of the work to Baker Concrete Construction Inc. of Monroe, Ohio, a contractor with much more experience in this type of work, Hunkele says. The bonding company will have to pay Baker Concrete, too.

Hunkele unofficially estimates the cost of repairing the steel beams at $20,000-$30,000. But one construction expert says he’d be surprised if the total cost overrun isn’t at least $500,000 or much more.

“If the cost is only [$20,000-$30,000], why would you need the bonding company, and why would you have to get a second contractor, Baker Concrete, to come in?” the source asks. “Somebody could just reach down in their pocket and pay that.”



Please read our comments policy before commenting.

Latest Arkansas Business Poll

Do you approve of the president taking executive action on immigration?