Structures set for repair after pact

Jan. 26, 2013 @ 12:02 AM

Sevier Solid Waste may have resolved a legal dispute over four buildings built in 2008 as part of its composting facility, paving the way for repairs that should make them more stable during windstorms.

D&S Builders constructed the buildings — four “membrane covered frame structures” manufactured by Titan Building System, according to the agreement. That essentially translates into permanent tents — steel frames covered with canvas.

However, local officials eventually said the building did not meet Pigeon Forge building codes for “wind and snow load capacity.” That came after they learned through a letter that Titan was actually a subsidiary of Cover-All Building Systems, the same company that built a practice structure for the Dallas Cowboys which collapsed during a storm in 2009 and injured several people.

Investigations into that and some similar collapses indicated the structures could not stand up to the same winds and other conditions listed in their specifications.

SSW Director Tom Leonard said they haven’t experienced any problems at the composting facility, but they have been evacuating the buildings during heavy winds.

“We do it as a precaution,” he said. “We haven’t had any issues.”

The agreement calls for D&S to “remediate certain issues” with the larger of the two buildings, and provide certification from an engineer that the two smaller ones meet the original construction criteria and don’t need any additional work. D&S would pay for the work at no additional expense to SSW, and once it’s finished SSW would release the final $151,173 of the original contract. The agreement still must be reviewed one final time by the SSW attorney and an by D&S officials.

SSW hired D&S to build the new structures after a fire at the composting facility. The directors had settled on a canvas building, but D&S was responsible for choosing the manufacturer, Leonard said.

Shortly after work was finished, SSW got a letter from the manufacturer indicating that the buildings might not meet the company’s own specifications.

Leonard said SSW approached D&S at that time over how to address the issues, and that led to the legal wrangling that appears set to culminate in the new agreement.

jfarrell@themountainpress.com