Planning begins for Hawley School HVAC work

Posted: 04 dec. 2021 07:00

With deadlines looming for work to begin in the summer when school is complete, the city has selected Downes Construction Company of New Britain as the construction project manager for the Hawley School HVAC project.

Voters approved the project in the November 2 referendum.

First Selectman Dan Rosenthal said choosing Downes, who was the manager of the preconstruction project, would save time so that work can begin within the school’s summer vacation time window.

“We have a tight schedule,” Ronsenthal said. “They have already prepared candidate files.”

In addition, Downes waives a charge of $ 16,000 for procurement services.

Normally, the city would go through a request for quotation (RFQ) process, but Rosenthal said there would be challenges if the city followed this procedure. Rosenthal wondered if there would be a lot of answers right before the holidays. He also believed that even if Downes had an application package ready to go, a bidding process would take until next year and the winner of the bid “would likely be Downes”.

Purchasing agent Rick Spryer also recommended that the city not issue a quote request. The city’s buying process makes it possible to give it up.

“I feel like we would end up just in the same place [in terms of cost]”Rosenthal said.” It would be a risk to the project’s budget and schedule. We have a lot to do to move forward and reach our time window. Missing the window is probably not in the best interests of taxpayers. “

Rosenthal said he was “satisfied that we were recruiting a competent construction manager” and that in terms of fees Downes was “as expected”. He said that in a bidding process, it’s not just about who has the lowest fees, but a balance between who can do the best job for the best price.

“It will keep the trains running on time and give me a level of comfort to move forward that way,” said the head coach.

Spryer said the town had the opportunity to hire Downes for the entire project, which he recommended as they have “an intimate knowledge of designs,” as well as budgeting and planning. collaboration with the architect.

“If we were to hire someone else, we would have to go through the RFQ process and the new design company would have to become familiar with the design drawings,” Spryer said. “We wouldn’t have to bid until late January or early February.” Hiring Downes, he said, “made the most sense to move the project forward in a timely manner.”

Spryer also noted that the city has a good relationship with Downes, having previously worked with the company and with project manager Jeff Anderson.

“We worked with Downes on the permanent memorial, which was on budget and on time,” Spryer said. “They have a good track record and have already put in a ton of work.”

At a November 23 meeting of the Committee on Public Buildings and Site, members of the committee urged Downes to advance his bidding schedule over concerns over the availability of supplies and equipment for construction due to shortages in the supply chain. Project manager Michael Dell’Accio believed Downes could put out a tender for subcontractors to do the work by early January.

“We’re going to bid early, which leaves plenty of time to purchase materials and equipment,” Dell’Accio said.

PBSC President Art Norton asked if it was possible to prepare the tender documents before the holidays so that any site visits by contractors wishing to bid could be done during the Christmas and New Years holidays. An. Dell’Accio replied that it could be done.

Project designer Christopher Williams of Chris Williams Architects, however, expressed concern, saying some contractors might not be available for site visits during the holidays and requested that a second site visit window be set as well.

“We’re going to cut it close, but it can be done,” Dell’Accio said.

PBSC member Gus Brennan has expressed concerns that it may take up to six months to acquire equipment and supplies.

“We should consider pre-purchasing for some with long lead times,” Brennan said.

Rosenthal asked if Dell’Accio could prepare “at least a rough schedule” so that if some contractors’ bids go over budget, the city has time to send them back to bid.

“I’m a little worried if we end up with a surprise and don’t have time to fix it,” Rosenthal said. “We have a window that we have to hit.”

Rosenthal said that once a schedule is sent out offers will be sent out and then site visits will be taken. When the offers arrive, Downes will review the offers to see if they all meet the scope of the project.

Preliminary bids from subcontractors will be due by January 10, with a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) ideally set by the end of January, Rosenthal said. The GMP will include contingencies and incidental costs, and “set everything”.

“I think we are in a good position right now,” said Rosenthal. “We have six months but we don’t want to waste the time we have.”

Rosenthal said he always felt “a little nervous” until all the offers came in.

“I have no doubts that we are in a good position,” he said, although he also added “you never know” until all offers are considered.

Journalist Jim Taylor can be reached at [email protected]

The town is preparing to begin work on the Hawley School HVAC system. The city approved the project in a referendum on November 2. — File photo on bees

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