Door won’t close on final phase of NATCOM center construction

Jack McCain, center, examines the faulty door at the NATCOM center as Rick Nowlin, left, listens to George Minturn explain the issues that have arisen.

By Juanice Gray, Editor

Have you ever ordered anything custom made, then when it arrives it is not what you ordered? Imagine ordering a necklace with your child’s name on it and when you receive it their name is misspelled. You were not a happy a customer. That is similar to the predicament the 911 Commission is dealing with, only on a grander scale and with more at stake.

A customized security door was ordered. It had to meet specific state requirements and upon arrival, did not meet those specifications. This particular interior door separates the regular building from the tornado and fire proof call center area. It is required to withstand a tornado, have locks on both sides and fit securely in its frame with all working mechanisms located inside the walls of the door.

When the contractor for the new NATCOM center installed the door, architect George Minturn realized the door did not meet specs. There was no lock on the call center side of the door. This is an expensive and custom made door, so Minturn spoke with the 911 Commission in their next open meeting after contacting the state to get input. Minturn proposed the addition of card swipe pads to meet the security requirements and said the state approved the change. The Commission agreed and believed the matter to be settled.

Additional issues have since surfaced. The door doesn’t fit the frame correctly, allowing for movement within the frame since it will not latch properly. On numerous occasions, the door has malfunctioned by the latch catching on the frame preventing it from completely closing. Additional financial issues have also arisen. The door is among the final punch list items the contractor is required to complete.

The Commission is withholding final payment for services until every item on the punch list is completed and approved. The door is UL listed and has to be modified only by the factory. The door was purchased by the NATCOM contractor, not by the Commission. Minturn was not authorized to return or order a new door since the contractor was the purchaser. “The amount to fix the door could exceed the money we’re holding,” Minturn said.

Commissioner Rick Nowlin, who is also an engineer by trade, asked if the specifications were verified in writing and was assured the contractor had full details in writing. “We got a substitution,” Minturn said. “without notice or approval. We are not asking for anything not included in the contract.” The commission agreed to proceed with a two step process to rectify the situation.

If the door repairs or replacement costs more than what the Commission is holding, the contractor could be liable.