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Second Appeal Analysis
PA ID# 097-99037-00; Los Angeles County
PW ID# 3071; Marquette Drive Repair
The January 2005 Winter Storms (FEMA-1577-DR-CA), declared February 4, 2005, produced heavy rainfall causing a slope failure and road damage on Marquette Drive in Los Angeles County (Applicant). FEMA prepared Project Worksheet (PW) 3071 in August 2005 for $188,585, with a version in September 2005 for an additional $260,200, for a total estimated project cost of $448,785 for the stabilization of the failed slope and associated restoration of pavement and appurtenances at mile marker (MM) 0.10, located in the Santa Monica Mountains of Los Angeles County.
The approved scope of work in the original PW called for a 72-foot long soldier pile wall with timber lagging. A version to the PW was prepared after a second site visit by FEMA representatives and additional information was obtained by the Applicant. The PW version extended the length of the soldier pile wall from 72 feet to 115 feet, specified a pile spacing of six feet on-centers, and called for tiebacks over a length of 66 feet of the wall anchored to12 anchor piles. The type of wall supported by the soldier piles remained timber lagging. The Applicant’s appeal centers on the scope of work and funding determinations made in the PW, and requests funding for the construction of a 144-feet soldier pile wall.
The first appeal was submitted to the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) on January 19, 2006, and was forwarded to FEMA on March 20, 2006. The Applicant requested that the scope of work be revised to be consistent with the plans developed by the Applicant for repair of the facility, and that estimated project costs be increased accordingly. The Applicant requested that FEMA revise PW 3071-1 to allow for a 144-foot long soldier pile wall with a cast-in-place reinforced concrete wall and tiebacks along the entire length of the wall. The Applicant provided a set of plans (reduced in size) prepared by Los Angeles Department of Public Works (LADPW), signed and sealed by a professional engineer in the state of California and dated July 21, 2005, as well as a line item estimate prepared by LADPW for the repair costs (Project: RDC0014684) for Marquette Drive at MM 0.1 - Soldier Beam Pile Retaining Wall, dated September 06, 2005. The additional costs of materials and labor associated with the revised scope of work results in a total estimated project cost of $806,091, to which the Applicant added “... the FEMA-placeholder funding of seven percent for design and three percent for project management,” bringing the total estimate for the project to $886,700.
The FEMA Region IX Acting Regional Director denied the first appeal on August 14, 2006, stating that the Applicant did not provide sufficient documentation to support the Applicant’s request for a change in the scope of work. The FEMA Acting Regional Director also stated that a change in the scope of work beyond that defined in PW 3071-1 would necessitate a request from the Applicant for an Improved Project with the Federal funding limited to the Federal share of the approved estimate of eligible costs.
The Applicant’s second appeal was submitted to OES on November 1, 2006, and was forwarded to FEMA on December 27, 2006. The Applicant reiterates the need for a change to the scope of work to comply with the Applicant’s design, and addresses the associated increase in total project cost.
In addition to copies of the PW and first appeal response, the Applicant included the following: a set of “As-Built” drawings dated August 15, 2006; a copy of a report from the Geotechnical and Materials Engineering Division of LADPW with retaining wall recommendations for Marquette Drive dated May 2, 2005, a set of boring logs; four comparative photographs taken in February 2005 and
January 2006 of damage at the east end of the site; and a 76-page accounting summary of labor, equipment, and materials credited against the project. The total estimated project cost requested in the second appeal is $818,658.
The Applicant’s plans prepared in July 2005 called for a 144-foot long soldier pile wall; however, after a second site visit, FEMA representatives determined that a wall length greater than 115 feet was not eligible for Public Assistance funding. Emphasis was made in the second appeal that the zone of failure on the east end of the site continued to expand between the first and second visits made by FEMA. This may be the reason for FEMA’s decision to write a version to the original PW. Four photographs were provided with the second appeal to illustrate the progression of damage to the slope on the east end of the site between February 2005 (immediately after the incident) and January 2006.
Despite the Applicant’s assertion that a worsening situation existed at the site, LADPW’s accounting information provided with the second appeal indicates that no significant efforts were made by the Applicant to repair the slope until January 2006. Measures should have been taken immediately to secure the east side of the site from further damage, even if the entire project could not be completed until a later time. The Applicant’s records indicate that labor hours were not charged to the project until mid November 2005, with an average of about six man-hours per day through the end of that year, with no equipment or materials being charged to the project until January 2006. Therefore, it would appear that the distress in the easternmost 30 feet of the site was not a direct result of the incident, but rather an indirect result because the Applicant did not take actions to prevent further damage when it was apparent in August 2005 that the problem was worsening. Therefore, the additional 30 feet of wall being requested by the Applicant is ineligible for Public Assistance funding.
FEMA concurred with the Applicant’s plan to tieback the top of the soldier pile wall in order to reduce the costs associated with long soldier piles due to the depth of competent foundation material in which to embed the piles. Based on subsurface information available at the time the construction plans were developed, it appeared that only 12 of the soldier piles would require tiebacks attached to anchored piles. However, during construction it became apparent that competent foundation material was deeper than anticipated at the location of the soldier piles at the east end of the wall. Consequently, it was necessary to provide tiebacks to anchor piles over the entire length of the wall. This constitutes a component of work that is eligible for FEMA Public Assistance funding. Based on this determination, another eight tiebacks and anchor piles are eligible for the 115 feet of wall length that is eligible for Public Assistance funding.
The plans developed by LADPW called for a cast-in-place reinforced concrete wall as part of the soldier pile wall in lieu of timber lagging because timber lagging is vulnerable to destruction by fire. The Applicant assert in the second appeal that the area is very susceptible to wildfires—reportedly having burned at least six times in the past—and Marquette Drive provides a means of evacuation for residents as well as ingress and egress for firefighting and other types of emergency equipment and personnel. Therefore, the substitution of the cast-in-place concrete wall will be eligible for Public Assistance funding.
The Applicant has not demonstrated that a 144-foot wall is required to repair damages that are a direct resulted of the disaster. The data provided indicates that any additional length of wall in excess of the 115 feet specified in the PW is likely the result of delayed action to prevent additional damage while it was known that a worsening situation existed; conPWncorporate the additional eligible components of work associated with the additional tiebacks and anchor piles, as well as the cast-in-place reinforced concrete wall as a fire protection measure and element of the Applicant’s original plans. It will also be revised to include an additional eight anchor piles at a length of 24 feet each to PW cost line items 2, 3, and 4. A review of the PW revealed that the cost associated with the tiebacks was omitted from the cost estimate. Consequently, a line item will be added for tiebacks.
Information for the cast-in-place reinforced concrete wall will be taken from the line items in the Total Contract Estimate for Project RDC0014684 – Marquette Drive @ MM 0.1 Soldier Beam Pile Retaining Wall, prepared by LADPW, dated August 24, 2005, which is part of the backup documentation for the PW. Additionally, the quantities will be reduced by 80 percent (115 feet divided by 144 feet, which is the ratio of the wall lengths). Specifically, information has been taken from line items 11 (Structure Concrete – Retaining Wall), 15 (Bar Reinforcing Steel), and 16 (Miscellaneous Metal – Retaining Wall) of the PW. Timber Lagging (PW cost line item 5) will remain as an eligible wall component identified on the Applicant’s plans (ref. “Retaining Wall Details 1,” sheet 5 of 10). The costs for the tiebacks were taken directly from the LADPW estimate at 63.33 pounds for furnishing, and $300.00 for installing each tieback (identified as tie rods on the LADPW cost estimate, line items 20 and 21).
Attached are spreadsheets showing the revised cost estimate for PW 3071. Cost items 2, 3, and 4 are revised to cover 40 solider piles instead of 32. Cost items 14 through 18 have been added to cover the cast-in-place concrete wall and tiebacks. Since these changes increase the construction cost, the costs for mobilization, project management, and engineering design services will increase as they are computed as percentages of the construction cost. This will increase the eligible project estimate cost for PW 3071-1 by $141,676 to $590,461.
Since the Applicant has already constructed a 144-foot long wall, the work constitutes an Improved Project and the Federal funding will be limited to the Federal share of the approved estimate of eligible costs for the new version of PW 3071.