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Completion of Fire Station 8 delayed seven months due to permitting delays

Construction on the new Fire Station 8 on Langston Blvd is halfway done but experiencing delays, partly attributed to the county’s own permitting process.

The project at 4845 Langston Blvd, where the old station used to be, is about seven months behind schedule and is now expected to wrap up by January 2024.

Firefighters are operating out of a temporary station at 2217 N. Culpeper Street, just behind the construction site.

This weekend, the Arlington County Board is set to review a request to tack on another $510,000 to its roughly $1.6 million contract with an architecture firm, FGM Architects, to continue providing design and construction administration services.

The total revised budget for the project remains the same, at $27.92 million, given a $2.1 million county-held contingency that’s being used for the overages.

The contractor overseeing construction, MCN Build, agreed to build Fire Station 8 for a guaranteed maximum price of $16,878,504 as the construction manager at risk — meaning it is financially responsible if the project is over-budget.

A staff report says the half-million dollar contract increase is needed for extended construction administrative services because permitting delays have caused the project to fall behind.

Arlington County has transitioned all of its permits online to the Permit Arlington system. Some local home builders previously told ARLnow they are waiting longer for project approval as a result.

Per the staff report, additional administrative and design expertise is also needed to plan for site-related design changes, including realigning a traffic signal, and for inspection and testing services.

“This request… is required for extended construction administrative services to complete the project, including items such as civil coordination with Dominion Energy, Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan close-out, and other building commissioning support services,” the report says.

Arlington County first used the construction manager at risk model for the Lubber Run Community Center project. Since then it has been used for Jennie Dean Park, which opened nearly a year ago, and the under-construction ART Operations and Maintenance facility.

“This delivery method can better control the project costs and schedule by allowing early builder input on costs, schedule, value, and quality and collaboration with the architect-engineering firm,” the county said in a previous report explaining the terms of the contract with MCN Build.

A more common approach in which a project is fully designed and the contractor with the lowest, responsible bid is awarded the project can result in delayed delivery if, for instance, bids come in over-budget and the whole project has to be redesigned and rebid, the report said.

Involving MCN Build Inc. as design and construction drawings evolved helped those working on the project identify issues early on and address them, the county previously said.

The fire station project has faced other challenges not related to permitting. In February injured workers were rescued by the fire department after their lift made contact with power lines.

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