The Way I See It!

I am an Ultra-Conservative, Alpha-Male, True Authentic Leader, Type "C" Personality, who is very active in my community; whether it is donating time, clothes or money for Project Concern or going to Common Council meetings and voicing my opinions. As a blogger, I intend to provide a different viewpoint "The way I see it!" on various world, national and local issues with a few helpful tips & tidbits sprinkled in.

All Is NOT Well with the Iceport Demolition

Cudahy, Iceport, Local Government, McCue, Mary Jo Lange

Iceport Demolition

Inspection Department Report

January 12, 2010


The purpose of this report is to state the Inspection Department’s involvement in the demolition of the former Iceport Structure.  The Inspection Department was not involved in the preparation of the bid documents or the awarding of the contract, with the exception of clerical assistance in the distribution and collection of the actual bids.


My first involvement came after the award of the bid to O&M Grading.  One of the City’s Engineering Technicians came to me with a request from Tom of O&M to help him locate the details of the north footing within the bound set of drawings.  I thought this was somewhat odd given the bid had already been awarded.


After that, I received an email message notifying me of a “Pre-construction meeting Iceport Demo” on September 30, 2009 at 1:30 p.m.


The questions that arose for me at that meeting involved inspections, when necessary and permits fees.  The response given regarding inspections was for the contractor to call when footings and foundations were removed prior to backfilling, and that multiple inspections would be required due to size and scope of the project.  Plumbing inspections were to be called for prior to covering the seals.


The other item involving the Inspection Department was permit fees for the above described inspections.  It came to my attention at the meeting that the project manual “Special Conditions” section stated that “The City permit fees will be waived”, this was somewhat of a surprise in that I was not aware that the Common Council waived any fees involving this project.  Knowing quite certainly those fees had not been waived, I stated that fees would have to be paid to which the contractor looked to Mary Jo and asked if he should treat those as an extra, she approved.  I also found out at that meeting, that the City would not be providing containers for the salvage material which was also called for in the “Special Conditions” portion of the project manual, Sec 11.11.  The reason containers were to be provided was simple, a third party of the City’s choosing would have been involved to help insure that the City obtain full value for all salvage materials.  Shortly after that, I was summoned by the Mayor and left the meeting.


I do not know when the actual demolition started as I was not notified two weeks before work began, as required in 11.02 of the bid documents.  As the structure began to be demolished, I would view from the elevated area north of the site, outside of the chain link enclosure.  After the steel was dismantled I did not see any below grade excavation that would have indicated below grade footing and foundation removal.  I had no concerns at this point because it appeared that the contractor was only removing the above grade structure.


On December 3, 2009 I noticed what appeared to be grading over the top of the area of the former west wall.  As the contractor was still working on the remnants of the above grade north wall I thought it best to go onto the site to remind the contractor about his responsibility to call for inspections.


Upon doing so, the lead person told me all below grade footing and foundations had been removed except the north wall and 30’-40’ returns of the east and west walls.  I asked why we were not called for inspections; his reply was that he thought, “We would be stopping out.”  He then proceeded to advise me that the north footing will not be removed.  When I asked him who had authorized that, he told me, “Someone from the city.”  I then sent an email to the City Engineer asking who had authorized the north footing to remain.  The City Engineer acknowledged in an email that it was she.


On December 15, 2009 I spoke with Attorney Eberhardy and he stated that he would have to rely on the judgment of the City Engineer regarding the north foundation even though in her email she stated that if I “wanted” it removed to let her know in writing.


After that, our office did inspect the two 30’ – 40’ returns at the corners of the north foundation as requested by the contractor during the weeks of December 7 and December 14, 2009.  That represents the only removals inspected by the Inspection Department.


On December 17, 2009, I stopped at the site and advised the lead person that the only practical solution to inspections that were missing (due to their failure to request inspections) was to hire a registered land surveyor to re-stake the foundations and then dig some test holes at those marked locations.  If the spot checks prove clear, we could assume that the balance of foundation was also removed.  That, in addition to a signed affidavit from the site person directly responsible for the work.


On December 18, 2009, as I passed the site along Nicholson Avenue, two earth movers were spreading a layer of soil over the site and a dozer was grading the slope adjacent to the north wall.  Given what was discussed with the contractor on site a day earlier, it appeared that there was little concern on the part of the contractor for the lack of inspections.


After some thought I decided it would be best to stop work until a resolution was decided upon.  I notified the lead person (dozer operator) to stop work and he asked me if it was under my authority.  My response was yes.  By the time I walked across the site they were operating again and my cell phone was ringing.  The mayor asked me to come to his office for a meeting.  Before I left I again stopped the contractor advising them of the meeting I was heading to.  I told him that I would advise him of the results.


In the Mayor’s office with Mary Jo (City Engineer) present the Mayor asked why I stopped the project.  I responded that virtually none of the footing and foundation trenches were inspected prior to covering and work was continuing with no apparent concern for the lack of inspections.  Mary Jo stated that she had been on site as well as her “guys” and could verify the footing and foundation removal.


We also discussed the north footing/foundation and the location of the sewer and water lines to the north.  Mary Jo stated that inlets to the sewer were 15’ from footing which I pointed out contradicted what was stated in her email, that being 30’.  The Mayor suggested to me that, “You just want the footing out and don’t care if it’s Patrick Cudahy’s sewer line.”  Correcting him, I explained to him that I had spoken with a couple of experienced 2nd and 3rd generation demolition contractors who told me they felt the north footing removal would not jeopardize the adjacent utilities. 


On January 5, 2010, the Mayor and Common Council were presented with a memorandum from Mary Jo Lange regarding “Update – Iceport Demolition.”  Her report misrepresents some matters and based upon her the project does not comply with the specifications required by the Project Manual and city Code.


On January 8, 2010, a meeting was held in the Mayor’s office.  Present at this meeting were Mayor McCue, Attorney Eberhardy, Mary Jo Lange, and myself.  Mary Jo made some comments at this meeting which helped me understand why the contractor did not call for inspection as required.  Those comments were that she had authorized the below grade foundations to remain in place in lieu the structural fill that the project manual called for.  Additionally, it was her department that approved the onsite seals of the sewer and water.  When the lack of inspections was first brought to my attention, she responded, “Butch, I’m not sure why he didn’t call for an inspection on the removal of the footings.  I just assumed they were doing that.”  (Please see email). 


The Inspection Department should have been included in the decision process, we were not.  Even when the question of no inspections arose, we were not immediately informed.  It is a mystery to me why the City Engineer does no share my concern for meeting all requirements of the project.


It was decided at that meeting that, in spring 2010, the City will hire a Registered Land Surveyor to re-stake the building and column pads.  That would be followed by the hiring an excavator (other than current contractor) to dig test holes at designated locations to verify that footing and foundation materials have been broken into smaller than 3” pieces as Mary Jo states.  Reinforcing steel may present additional problems.


I will be contacting the contractor to set a meeting time with Mary Jo and me to discuss the above remedy.


I conclusion, the only footing and foundation removal verified by the Inspection Department was approximately 30’ – 40’ of returns off the ends of the north foundation.  The Inspection Department can not sign off on what someone else claims to have seen.  The goals of this project were very simple.  That was, the demolition, removal, disposal of all above and below grade building components, backfill and grade.  At this time, I do not believe that the goals have been accomplished.



                                                            Butch Loferski

                                                            Building Inspector



Butch Lorerski


From:    Butch Lorerski

Sent:      Thursday, December 03, 2009 4:08 PM

To:        Mary Jo Lange

Cc:       Paul Eberhardy, Ryan McCue, Joe Zsebe

Subject: RE: Iceport Demo


It’s not about what I want, but want is required by the Code.  So yes, all footings must be removed,  In the future, as a professional courtesy, please contact me prior to making decisions regarding code matters that you have no authority to enforce.  Please remind the project manager that prior to covering ANY footing excavations, an inspection must be scheduled, performed and the work approved before any backfill takes place.  As for the trenches already covered, I will personally handle that matter upon my return on 12/14/09.    Butch



From:    Mary Jo Lange

Sent:      Thursday, December 03, 2009 1:59 PM

To:        Butch Lorerski

Cc:       Tom Quinn

Subject: RE: Iceport Demo




I’m not sure why he didn’t call for inspection on the removal of the footings.  I just assumed they were doing that.


Tom Quinn the project manager did come in to talk to me when you were out on vacation regarding the removal of the north wall footing.  The grade between the north wall (which is down now) and the ground to the north is very steep.  Roughly 30’ from the wall we have water main and sanitary sewer at a much higher elevation.  I am afraid that if we disturb the ground below the north wall to remove these huge footings that we will cause an undermining condition that will jeopardize the utilities.  I agree it’s a good idea to remove footing as a practice but in this situation I would strongly recommend against it.  Certainly if you direct the north footing wall to be removed I will have the contactor remove it, but as an engineer I would advice against it.  It was my understanding that all other footings would be removed.  Please get back to me in writing if you want the north footing removed and I will forward it to the contractor.


Mary Jo



From:    Butch Lorerski

Sent:      Thursday, December 03, 2009 12:30 PM

To:        Mary Jo Lange

Cc:       Ryan McCue, Paul Eberhardy

Subject: RE: Iceport Demo


Mary Jo, I visited the site today because it appeared that all above grade building elements had been taken down.  What caught my attention was it appeared that the area of where the west wall had stood had been graded.  To date, I was not aware of any trench inspections, (he did not) I went into the site.  In talking with the operators on site, they told me that with the exception of the north wall, all footings were removed and backfilled.  This is a problem because no inspections were called in.  In addition to that problem which can be remedied by re-excavating, they informed me that “someone” from the City said that they weren’t going to be required to remove those remaining footings.  This was somewhat surprising because to not remove, would violate Sec.14.12 (6) of the building code.  We will handle the inspections that were not phoned in but that “someone” needs to inform them that they WILL be required to remove all footings and foundations.  Please let me know if you have any question.  Butch






Scanned documents with letterhead downloadable here.



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