Kingston Officials Mull Bids for Firehouse Asbestos Abatement Project, Use Coin Toss to Select Contract

Posted on September 9, 2017

Kingston, NY officials want to move forward with upgrading the city’s historic firehouse, but first, the asbestos in the basement must be removed. Now, officials are reviewing bids and they are hoping to keep the final costs as close to the bid as possible.

According to a March 30 article in the Daily Freeman, the city received seven bids for the project that, according to City Engineer Ralph Swenson, requires removing asbestos from the pipe insulation in the basement. The bids  varied widely from a low of $42,000 to a high of $174,000.

Earlier in March, the city council voted to authorize borrowing $100,000 for the project prior to finalizing a bid so that the money would be available for a timely project. Swenson believes the costs should come in under the $100,000.

Ultimately, the officials used a coin toss to select their contractor, according to the Daily Freeman. Citing city and state policies that allow a toss to determine the winner, the town tossed a 1920 silver dollar and awarded the contract to NRC. Both NRC and Sullivan Contracting submitted identical bids of $42,000

The asbestos removal must be conducted prior to beginning repairs on the steel reinforcements in the firehouse’s concrete floor. A contractor hired to perform an environmental and structural assessment of the firehouse, built  in 1907, reported that the steel structures where the “fire trucks are parked, probably have deteriorated significantly.”

Asbestos may be found in structures built prior to the mid-1970s. Asbestos-containing products were used in construction materials including roofing materials, ceiling tiles and insulation. If asbestos is present in a building, it must first be removed before beginning any renovation work. In order to keep the public and the workers safe, specific, sometimes costly, asbestos abatement procedures set forth by local, state and federal jurisdictions must be followed.

Asbestos is a carcinogen and even small amounts of asbestos and infrequent exposure can create a risk for contracting mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases. Approximately 3,000 Americans each year are diagnosed with the cancer.

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