BRUNSWICK FIRE PERSONNEL have, during the past two years, contended with ice dams on portions of the building, the freezing up of decontamination areas, lack of heat in the apparatus bays, the loss of hot showers, and the boilers shutting down.

BRUNSWICK FIRE PERSONNEL have, during the past two years, contended with ice dams on portions of the building, the freezing up of decontamination areas, lack of heat in the apparatus bays, the loss of hot showers, and the boilers shutting down.

BRUNSWICK

The town council tonight will get an update on Brunswick’s Emerson fire station, which is in need of nearly $300,000 worth of repairs to its heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system.

The Harold Emerson Station in East Brunswick was constructed about eight years ago.

Fire personnel have, during the past two years, contended with ice dams on portions of the building, the freezing up of decontamination areas, lack of heat in the apparatus bays, the loss of hot showers, and the boilers shutting down.

About $4,000 worth of natural gas was used last year in order to heat the building.

The council learned in March that repairs were estimated at $287,000.

Heat building up in the attic has led to ice dams — ridges of solid ice that can prevent water from draining — forming on the roof. Snow was found within the attic itself.

Among problems found by Wright- Pierce Environmental Engineering were airflow issues, boilers that failed to start, and inadequate automatic heating and ventilation controls in the apparatus bays.

The report cited missing insulation in the ceilings and attics, freezing conditions in the decontamination room, and high humidity in the living quarters.

In a Sept. 10 memo to the council, Interim Town Manager John Eldridge wrote that, following a meeting with Wright-Pierce and the building’s architect and construction manager Ouellett Associates : “It appears that some of the problems identified resulted from changes made over the eight years since the systems were originally installed and commissioned.”

“Additionally, Wright- Pierce acknowledges that most of its recommendations involve enhancements to the existing systems and new additional systems to provide operational flexibility,” Eldridge wrote. “At this point, we will be evaluating the options presented in the report and developing a proposal to fund the improvements. We hope to have a recommendation to the town council by October.”

Building design

In May, Ouellet Associates wrote to the Eldridge — in response to a Wright-Pierce report — stating, in part:

“… This building was designed and built using tested construction means and methods common to the industry at that given point in time. The selected assemblies were not a product of cutting corners or costs. Quite the opposite. Much has changed in the last eight years. New energy codes have been adopted. Exterior wall and roof assembly types have been revised to reflect these code changes as well as to reflect new building materials and application methods. If we started this process all over today, the design basis goals would not change, but the way we put the building together would likely change a little. In another eight years, we’ll be designing and constructing buildings differently yet again.”

In an Aug. 28 memo to Fire Chief Kenneth Brillant, Wright-Pierce recommended about a dozen improvements to the building, including improvements to the apparatus bays and the attic.

“In general, Wright-Pierce is in agreement with Ouellet’s findings that many of the systems are no longer operating at their original design settings,” wrote Wright-Pierce Project Manager Daniel Pratt. “Beyond this concern, it is our understanding that the fire department would like to take steps to further improve the performance and operational flexibility of the VAC systems at the Emerson Fire Station. … Once the specific improvements are selected and implemented, all of the existing systems will need to be rebalanced, reset and/or coordinated with the operation of the additional systems.”


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