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Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills

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Access Project Blog 14May2015

Author Nadine Sapirman, Written May 14, 2015

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Last week, we were informed that additional fire safety remedies are required in order to make the elevator compliant with state codes.  This news came as a surprise to the members of the Access Committee.  Some investigation led us to confirm that, indeed, these additional items are required; the elevator won’t pass inspection without them.  Our building plans, which had been approved by the Borough, did not include these items so we had no way of knowing about them.

In the last week, our builder has worked with a fire safety company to create plans for the equipment’s installation, and obtain a permit from the Borough for the work.  The money donated and pledged to UUCSH for the Access Project through capital campaigns has all been expended.  There are no more Access Project funds.  Last night, the Board of Trustees approved the expenditure (approximately $12,000) to come from our reserve account, what we call “Working Capital”.  This is the third significant unanticipated expense this year, leaving our reserves at a level much lower than recommended by the UUA.

With funding approved, we will now move swiftly to have the work done so the elevator can be inspected, and we can obtain a Certificate of Occupancy to be able to fully use our new spaces, and the elevator.  It is expected to take no more than a couple of weeks.

The good news is that our building will be much more fire safe.
We will be installing hard-wired smoke and heat detectors; strobe lights and horns in the restrooms; and two fire pull stations.  In addition, the elevator will be configured such that the doors will not open on a floor where there is a fire.  The system will include fire alarm monitoring, with an ongoing cost of about $60 per month to UUCSH, including a dedicated telephone line.

Sometimes the longer you wait for something, or the more hardship you go through to obtain it, the more you appreciate it.