High bids has AMED reviewing options

Proposals exceed estimated costs for station by $200K

Bid for construction of AMED’s proposed new station and headquarters in Lakemont have come in high, leading the organization to postpone the awarding of contracts, pending evaluation of its options.

The $3.4 million total for the low bids on four phases of work exceeds the estimated cost range by $200,000 to $300,000, according to AMED Executive Director Gary Watters.

The first task will be to find out why the bids are high, said Watters and architect Dave Albright on Monday, after a meeting during which the board had expected to award contracts.

Albright and AMED officials, along with — possibly — an independent consultant that AMED could hire, will examine the bids in hopes of identifying one or more elements of the specifications that could be altered or eliminated to save money, Watters and Albright said.

That kind of change — “value engineering” — would be legal, although merely trying to negotiate a lower price with one or more bidders without a change in the scope of work would not be legal, according to Albright.

Otherwise, the authority could rebid the job — or proceed to award the contracts, the officials indicated.

Awarding the contracts as is, however, would leave the authority with more debt service than it was previously willing to accept, Watters indicated.

The low bids:

For general construction: Ventura Construction Services, $2.4 million; for heating, ventilating and air conditioning: Controlled Comfort HVAC, $338,000; for plumbing: Riley, $189,000; for electrical work: Hallstrom-Clark Electric, $422,000.

Neither Watters nor Albright singled out one of those bids as the sole or main source of the problem.

The board scheduled a special meeting for May 6, which is within the 30-day period during which the bids will be valid.

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