From Harford County Government:
Harford County Government offices located at 212 South Bond Street in Bel Air have been determined to be safe for occupancy and use according to an independent engineering study. The office building which housed the Harford County Council, Department of Public Works and Cultural Arts Board was closed in early January due to safety concerns. Approximately 75 personnel were relocated as a result of the temporary closure of the building.
The building has been closed to government employees and the public since January 3, 2011. Offices, including those of the County Council, were relocated as a result of the closure. County Executive David R. Craig ordered the relocation of personnel and offices from the facility following a detailed structural review of the building. The analysis was requested by the Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits (DILP) following a report by DPW employees of cracks in the walls on the second floor.
The building, which was built in 1985, was purchased by Harford County Government in 1996 and has been used continuously ever since by county government.
Following the initial evaluation of the building in late 2010 by two engineering firms, Harford County contracted with Century Engineering, Inc. of Hunt Valley to perform a detailed floor by floor analysis of the structure in an effort to ascertain if the building was structurally sound or if there were issues requiring extensive repairs or renovation.
The structural study conducted by Century Engineering was more comprehensive than the previous two studies, and included field investigation, sampling and testing of various framing members from the building and a full scale load test. The extensive structural review completed earlier this summer, concluded the office building can be reoccupied by the county, following repairs to areas of the building were samples were extracted for analysis.
Cost for repairs should not be prohibitive.
County Executive Craig, joined by Richard Lynch, Director of the Department of Inspections, Licenses and Permits, Bob Cooper, Director of the Department of Public Works, Deborah Henderson, Director of the Department of Procurement as well as William B. Rockey, P.E. of Century Engineering, Inc., brief approximately 60 county employees Thursday morning regarding the recent structural study and findings. Also in attendance for the briefing were County Council members Dion Guthrie and James McMahan.
“I am pleased with the detailed analysis and study conducted by Century Engineering of the county office building located at 212 South Bond Street, stated County Executive Craig. The safety of our employees and general public is of paramount importance. As County Executive I want to be sure that the building has been thoroughly examined, necessary repairs made and an appropriate risk management plan developed prior to reoccupancy, the County Executive remarked.
Director Richard Lynch stated, “The extensive structural evaluation performed by Century Engineering addresses all concerns raised in the two previous cursory evaluations that were performed initially”.
The Century Engineering report states, “the building was found to be structurally adequate for general office use for which it was originally designed.”
County Executive Craig stated he will confer with County Council President Billy Boniface and members of his Cabinet regarding future occupancy plans for the building. No employees will reoccupy the structure until the repairs stipulated in the engineering study have been completed.