Platte County recently invested
$20,000 to have the steps on the south side of
the Platte County courthouse refurbished.
Problem is: The job was completed
without meeting several areas of codes.
One particular deficiency actually
makes the new stairs not compliant with the Americans
with Disabilities Act (1990), according to Gale
Cantu, county codes enforcement officer.
The very top concrete stair has
more than a two percent slope to it. The slope
on the stair currently is four percent. ADA mandates
the slope must be two percent or less.
That step will have to be
corrected so that the slope is two percent or
less, Cantu said.
The correction will make the new
courthouse stairs ADA compliant, she said.
Another problem with the new stairs,
according to Cantu, is that the solitary handrail,
going up and down the middle of the stairs, is
not 34-38 inches tall at many places.
According to the 2000 International
Building Code, which Cantu uses as her authority
on building codes specifications, handrails must
have a height of at least 34 inches and must not
be higher than 38 inches.
Cantu does not yet know whether
the county will have to install a new handrail
in the same location or if workers can manipulate
the borings, in which the rail is emplaced, to
force the rail to sit up to the required 34-38
inches all the way down.
The county may be faced with totally
replacing that handrail, Cantu acknowledged.
The south side steps of the courthouse
job originally went out for bid in March 2004,
according to the county clerks office. The
county received three bids (from Platte Valley
Construction, RDS Bobcat Construction, and MTS
Contracting, Inc.), ranging in total cost from
a low bid of $7,450, from MTS, to a high bid of
$20,715, from Platte Valley Construction.
All three bids were formally rejected
by the Platte County commissioners at their meeting
on Oct. 21, 2004.
The commissioners then put the
stairs refurbishment project back out for bid
in April 2005. This time the county received only
one bid, from M & M Total Construction, at
an announced cost of $9,128, according to the
county clerks office, and awarded the job
to M & M. The county later approved change
orders that raised the cost of the total project
to an amount over and above the original approved
One previous bidder, Richard Coons,
is miffed that the city selected M & M. Coons
believes that he and other contractors were not
given proper notification to submit new bids for
Further, Coons said Platte Valleys
original bid included an option to run piping
through all the stairs, which could have regulated
the steps to a constant 34 degrees Fahrenheit
during winter time. This temperature regulation
would have kept the stairs free of snow and ice,
thus saving the concrete from weather wear, Koons
The recently finished courthouse
stairs do not have temperature-regulating pipes
The heating option would have
only cost the county an additional $900 approximately,
The stairs should have also been
poured in one giant, or monolithic,
pour of the concrete instead of the piecemeal
approach that was used, Coons said. The piecemeal
pour makes the stairs appear to be uneven, he
The stairs also fail compliance
codes in that the ends, by the cannons, are more
than 30 inches off of grade, Cantu said. That
violation will require the county to install vertical
spindle assemblies and attached guard rails, Cantu
Also, the stairs dont meet
egress mandates from the universal
building codes. Natural flow of pedestrian traffic
necessitates that a second and a third guardrail
be installed near the other entry/exit doors of
the courthouse, Cantu said.
The county plans to fix as many
of the compliance violations with county staff
as possible and will bid out the remaining jobs.