In the July 8 edition of the Daily Press a resident express[ed] their concerns with the functionality of the water feature in front of City Hall “A fountain of trouble,” Letters to the Editor, July 8). The resident says there seems to be some serious leakage problems with the new multi-tiered fountain project in front of City Hall. … The resident says it appears that there might be a serious design flaw in the fountain or a serious mistake in the construction assembly process.
I would like to … respon[d] to his questions:
1) Is this a bad design issue? No, it a complicated design. It is an unusual design, but not a bad design. This is a very unique project and the citizens of Santa Monica will enjoy it for years to come.
2) Is this a poor construction and assembly issue? This is a unique water feature and that with anything unique sometimes there may be adjustments to construction techniques and operation. We are using a design build system of construction; the designer and builder are collaborating to complete this project element appropriately per the construction contract.
3) Who is going to pay for the construction overages? There are no construction overages on this project. Based on the expenditures to date, the project is tracking to come in less than the budget.
4) What techniques are being attempted to fix the leaks? The designers and the builders are working on a number of ideas such as sealents and/or adding additional pieces to insure the path of water is as intended. This is not a leak issue, it is more an issue of water wavering from its intended path within the water feature. The contractor has the responsibility to deliver to the city a product that is fully functioning and free of defects. The city will not accept a component that does not meet those requirements. In addition, there is a one-year warranty on the construction of the park and water feature by the builder and they are obligated to repair items that are not functioning as designed.
5) Who is going to pay for any ongoing maintenance issues in the months and years to come? The city is responsible for maintenance and operation of all public facilities in the city and will be responsible for the normal operational and maintenance costs of the water feature. If an item is not working as required the contractor has the responsibility to fix the defect until the end of the warranty period.
6) How can we as citizens guarantee that the city won’t be stuck with a fountain that eventually gets turned off and becomes an ugly concrete dinosaur in front of our main civic building? The city staff overseeing this project are seasoned professionals who bring a wealth of construction experience to this project. In addition, the contractor and design firms are nationally and internationally recognized teams who take great pride in this project and want the very best representation of their work to come out of it. The best guarantee is the quality project managers who oversee the project contract, combined with the professional and legal obligation of the parties to deliver on contractual commitment to the city. The city does have additional legal recourse should the contractor not deliver, but the profile of this project and quality of these firms will provide the desired outcome for the citizens of Santa Monica.
I thank the resident for their interest in our project and look forward to the completion and operation of the park and water feature for the residents and visitors of Santa Monica to enjoy.
Director of Public Works
City of Santa Monica