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Penobscot Judicial Center may already need new roof

Kevin Bennett | BDN
Kevin Bennett | BDN
Truck and car tires line the roof of the Penobscot Judicial Center in Bangor on Friday, April 20, 2012. The tires are used to hold the rubber roof in place after it started to delaminate and ripple in the wind.
By Nick McCrea, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — The Penobscot Judicial Center opened just 28 months ago, but the downtown building may already be in need of a new roof, according to the facility’s engineer.

Curt LeFebvre, who maintains the downtown building, said he noticed in July 2011 that the top layer of the roof — a rubber membrane that protects the foot or so of roof materials below — already was showing signs of problems.

“I’ve never seen this,” LeFebvre said Friday. “No one has really determined the exact cause of this yet.”

Sections of the membrane are delaminating from the rest of the roof layers in certain sections, leaving the roof below vulnerable to damage and the building at risk of leaks.

As a temporary fix, LeFebvre said workers put rubber tires and 5-gallon buckets of sand onto the sections of membrane that were peeling or bubbling away from the roof to prevent those areas from being damaged by the wind during winter months.

There haven’t been any leaks in the roof so far, LeFebvre said, but if the membrane isn’t repaired it could lead to problems in the future.

The Penobscot Judicial Center opened in November 2009 and was finished ahead of schedule and under budget at a cost of $37 million.

Consigli Construction Co. was the general contractor of the facility, with Roof Systems of Maine handling the roof construction, LeFebvre said.

LeFebvre said repairs are scheduled to start on May 4 and will last about three weeks.

Matthew Tonello, area manager for Consigli, said Friday afternoon that the company would cover the repair costs.

“We have a contractual obligation with the state, and we stand behind our work,” Tonello said.

The original roof cost about $500,000, but LeFebvre and Tonello said they weren’t sure how much repairs will cost. It largely depends on the area affected and whether moisture has damaged layers of the roof below, Tonello said.

Tonello said he wasn’t aware of any other Consigli buildings that had similar delamination problems.

Core samples from the roof are being analysed by a Massachusetts-based firm to find out how many layers of the roof are damaged, Tonello said.

“Logistically, it’s kind of a nightmare,” he said.

Representatives from Roof Systems of Maine did not return messages requesting comment on Friday afternoon.

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