• Would use new formula in contracting for Swiftel safety cabling
BROOKINGS – City councilors last week got an “up close and personal” look at a new way of doing business, as they reviewed the steps necessary to award design-build contracts.
Design-build was a scheduled topic for Tuesday’s study session, and newly established design-build contracting procedures will be considered for adoption at the council’s Sept. 25 meeting.
Traditionally with municipal building projects, the city hires an engineer and/or architect, and then it bids the construction work based on the engineering or architectural specifications.
Sometimes that isn’t always practical, City Manager Jeff Weldon told the council.
Special uses often require dealing with contractors equipped to handle a project from design through construction, but that comes with a caveat: the city must take special care to award such contracts without bias or favoritism.
Many contractors, for example, are specialists. Some construction companies build only churches, others might limit their work to building health care facilities. Because of their special knowledge, they typically design the structure in-house and then proceed to build it for the client. That’s where design-build gets its name.
State law authorizes municipalities to use a design-build procedure for certain types of specialized equipment, buildings and structures where the traditional method of contracting and bidding may not be feasible, Weldon said.
“The reason the City of Brookings would like to have these procedures in place is that we have a project in the CIP (capital improvement plan) well-suited for this method of procurement and would like to utilize it. It is the fall-protection cable system above the grid in the ceiling of the Swiftel Center Arena,” the city manager said in notes prepared for council.
Currently, riggers at the Swiftel Center have to shimmy along beams and tie off on those beams when they position stage and lighting equipment. They’re doing the work now without a professionally designed safety system.
“We believe this is a basic safety and liability issue which needs to be addressed,” Weldon said.
The rigging project is estimated at $75,000.
Needless to say, this kind of work requires a contractor with specialized knowledge of safety rigging, and using a design-build firm seems the best course of action.
In detailing procedures for design-build contracting, Weldon and the council chose to employ a technical review committee to determine those most qualified to do the job and to rate proposals.
Once bids are submitted, the city will use a point system to score the management plan for the project, and that score and the price proposal will be factored to produce a final “adjusted bid price.”
The council reviewed the provisions of the city’s new design-build procurement plan as well as a legal, step-by-step flowchart prepared by City Attorney Steven Britzman for design-build bidding. The group will formally adopt the plan, or reject it, at next week’s regular council session.
Contact Ken Curley at email@example.com.