The recent horrifying collapse of a condo tower in Florida has people across the country wondering: “Could it happen here?”
In Westport, the answer is a pretty definitive “no.”
Steve Halstead has decades of experience with major Westport building projects — including the Westport Weston Family YMCA’s Phase 1 and 2 at Mahackeno, and the Staples High School modernization. He writes:
Westport is a better and safer place because the town has a well-defined “building process” staffed by building inspectors and fire marshals who are professional, tough, thorough and fair.
They care about what is best for Westport and its citizens, and insure compliance with state regulations.
Above all, they are value-added team members with the “OAG” teams — owner, architect and general contractor — used for large project management.
These building officials work with “OAG” teams at all important steps throughout these large projects. Examples:
- Detailed review of construction documents prior to building permit approval. Much of what happens in these reviews improves the project, and protects everyone.
- Detailed on-site inspections of all aspects of the project during construction.
- Final on-site “as built” inspections before issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy by the town.
All of this ensures that “as built” matches the approved and permitted construction documents.
“As built” documents can be complex. For the Y pool, that included excavation, installation of rebar, construction of the tank, concrete pour and testing, installation of proper electrical grounding of the pool and surrounds, installation of all electrical and mechanical work to support the pool and the locker rooms, and much more.
Town building and fire departments were intimately involved in that, and many other projects. Their diligent, conscientious, ongoing work — with their attention to detail, and to everyone involved on all sides of those projects — make them this week’s Unsung Heroes.
(To nominate an Unsung Hero, email firstname.lastname@example.org)