Author Topic: Discarded courthouse restart cost city almost $1.2 million  (Read 1367 times)

thelakelander

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Discarded courthouse restart cost city almost $1.2 million
« on: September 04, 2007, 12:53:59 AM »
It appears we are out of $1.2 million and potentially another $1.8 million with the fall of Auchter.  Also noteworthy is the Auchter plan called for a 15 story structure on one block.  KBJ's new plan calls for a seven story building consuming two blocks, which means a street will probably be permanently closed as a part of their potential "suburban" layout. 

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why City can't use a preliminary courthouse design it paid for. because Design-build team contract canceled; city didn't follow own codes.

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By Mary Kelli Palka, The Times-Union

Due to unforeseen financial troubles plaguing one of its contractors and the city's hiring choice intended to fast-track a new courthouse, Jacksonville taxpayers paid almost $1.2 million for a preliminary courthouse design that it now cannot use.

The city canceled its courthouse contract with the joint venture of Auchter Perry-McCall in early May after receiving reports of The Auchter Co.'s financial troubles. But had the city drawn up design requirements before selecting a design-build team, as required in the city's codes, it would probably not be necessary to start over completely.

Mayor John Peyton said not following the code was a mistake, though he noted that city officials considered the code to be flawed. But his staff has rewritten the city's codes within the last three years, including the portion about hiring a design-build team.[/b] Peyton also said the city couldn't have predicted that the design-build team would be dogged by financial problems.

Auchter Perry-McCall, which was selected last year as the city's design-builder, was paid $1.2 million this year for work that culminated in the creation of a "design criteria package" for the courthouse. Now the team is seeking another $1.8 million for work it considers beyond the original scope but that the company said it was directed to do. There was no contract amendment in place and the city said the team did the work at its own risk.

Some of the expenses the team wants is payment of employees hired to work on the project for up to six months after the contract was canceled and covering the team's $1,500 charitable contribution to the Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Florida. Executives of the team said they are rescinding that request.

Chief Administrative Officer Alan Mosley defended the process the city used to hire Auchter Perry-McCall. He said it was the most cost-effective way to end up with a courthouse complex that would best serve the city. If the city had continued with the design-build team, construction was supposed to have already started. He said there was no guarantee that even if the city had a design criteria package in place before hiring a design-build team that a new team wouldn't want to change elements of that package before moving forward. And he said some of Auchter Perry-McCall's preparation work, including interviews with judges, attorneys and other courthouse users, can still be used by the new design-build team.

This was the city's second team that attempted to tackle the courthouse project. About $60 million was spent on the first go-around, which started in 2000 when voters approved a courthouse as part of the Better Jacksonville Plan. Some of that cost was for land acquisition.

This time around the city had the option of going with a more traditional route of picking a design and then having construction companies say how much it would cost them to do the work. Instead, the city decided to use a design-build method, which calls for the architects and construction experts to be at the table together from the very beginning, on the same team.

There were two paths the city could have taken to hire a design-build team, one based on price and qualifications, the other based on qualifications only. The first would have required the city to have enough design information available for competing teams so that they could submit a bid that included a price. The city could then pick based partly on the teams' qualifications, but also price.

That's the preferred method for some public officials, including those in Orange County.

Orange County officials wouldn't use a qualifications-based selection method to build a courthouse, said Tony Aguerrevere, manager of the county's capital projects.

He said he only hires design-build teams if the requirements of the projects are clear, such as for a certain number of beds in a new jail.

But he said Orange County doesn't do anything based solely on qualifications. He said he prefers pre-qualifying teams and then using price as part of the selection process.

The state law and city code also allow the city to pick a team based solely on qualification, without considering price. That's the route the city took.

While the state law doesn't mandate design requirements be included in the bid package, it does require municipalities to have rules in place for hiring contractors. The city's administrative code requires design requirements for a qualifications-based selection.

The city's code defines the design requirements or a design criteria package as "concise performance-oriented drawings or specifications of the public construction project."

But Chief Deputy General Counsel Cindy Laquidara said the design requirement should never have been included in the code because the selection process was not based on price, but other considerations.

The city updated its city and administrative codes a couple years ago.

Mosley said he interpreted the design requirements as including preliminary planning and site information, which he said the city made available to potential design-build teams. But the code specifically calls for the criteria package to at least include items such as material quality standards, utility and layout information.

Peyton admits the city has made some mistakes. He promised that his staff would continue to review its oversight policies to make improvements.

Mosley said using only qualification to pick contractors can actually save the city in the end, because the construction company is involved in the early stages of the design work to point out potential cost savings.

Now the city is trying to negotiate a new contract with the second-ranked team from last year's selection, which includes Turner Construction Co. and KBJ Architects. But the companies will have to start mostly from scratch since the Auchter Perry-McCall specialized preliminary design plans are completely different from what the Turner and KBJ team is considering.

The Auchter Perry-McCall team's plans called for about a 15-story building on one block. Turner and KBJ has proposed a seven-story building on two blocks.

When the Auchter Perry-McCall plan was still under way, Peyton asked the council for $256 million for the first phase of the project, which would focus on a criminal courthouse. When additional phases were complete, the project would have cost about $390 million, not including the original $60 million already spent, city officials have said.

Turner and KBJ told the city in May that they could build a larger unified criminal and civil courthouse now, without the need for immediate additions, for $280 million. Laquidara said the city is working on a contract with the new team for a criminal courthouse only.

mary.palka@jacksonville.com, (904) 359-4104


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INVOICES DISPUTE

Jacksonville's former design-build team on the new Duval County courthouse project, Auchter Perry-McCall, has been paid about $1.2 million.

The city dropped the firm May 3 after The Auchter Co.'s financial difficulties came to light in April.

The design-build team is asking the city for about $1.8 million more, even though the city contends that the firm was working at its own risk because it didn't have a contract amendment for work beyond the original scope. The design-build team includes Rink Design Partnership Inc. and DLR Group.

The contractors were working at the direction of the city and are owed money to cover expenses and pay employees for several more months who relocated for the job, said Wayne McCall, chief executive officer of Perry-McCall Construction.

The city is disputing the invoices, though the city's project manager Dave Schneider has recommended paying about $200,000, saying the city isn't responsible for other costs.

McCall said that's not acceptable, but he's confident that in the end, the city will do "what's right."

This is what Auchter Perry-McCall has submitted in invoices and the city's recommendation:


- $114,330 for Rink Design personnel to cover the costs for six employees work in March and April.

City's recommendation: $58,563, which excludes costs for three of the employees.

- $42,317 for Rink Design studio costs to cover the expenses associated with a design studio.

City's recommendation: Nothing.

- $117,152 for Auchter Perry-McCall personnel to pay for nine employees' work in March and April.

City's recommendation: $83,967, which excludes payment for three employees and reduces payment for other employees.

- $58,476 for DLR personnel costs to pay for four employees' work, plus printing and transportation costs.

City's recommendation: $31,067, which excludes payment for two people, copying and transportation costs.

- $709,468 for Auchter's future employees costs to cover the salaries for nine people through December since the company hired them to work on the courthouse.

City's recommendation: Nothing.

- $45,489 for Perry-McCall's expenses to cover job-site cleanup, maintenance of trailer, meals, parking and $1,500 charitable donation to the Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Florida.

City's recommendation: $12,924, which excludes the charitable donation, meals and supplies that can be used on other projects. Also, McCall said the company withdrew the request for the city to pay the charitable donation, saying it was mistakenly included.

- $5,785 for Auchter's expenses, including site signs, parking and occupational licenses fees.

City's recommendation: $2,741, which excludes the license fees and parking.

- $9,964 for miscellaneous invoices to cover printing charges, copier, conference table, repairs on work trailer and moving expenses for a contract employee.

City's recommendation: $973, which excludes the moving expenses and supplies that can be used on other jobs.

- $664,560 for Rink's and DLR's future employee costs to cover the salaries for seven employees until October since the company hired them to work on the courthouse.

City's recommendation: Nothing.

Source: City of Jacksonville

http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/090407/met_196666851.shtml
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Lunican

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Re: Discarded courthouse restart cost city almost $1.2 million
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2007, 07:03:07 AM »
Why are they trying to reinvent the wheel by interviewing judges and attorneys on the courthouse design? Just choose from preexisting designs and build it.

Quote
Chief Administrative Officer Alan Mosley defended the process the city used to hire Auchter Perry-McCall. He said it was the most cost-effective way to end up with a courthouse complex that would best serve the city.

Obviously that turned out not to be true...

thelakelander

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Re: Discarded courthouse restart cost city almost $1.2 million
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2007, 07:25:10 AM »
I'm suprised after years and years of beating this thing together, we still don't have any design criteria for what we want with the courthouse or any idea of how we would like the structure to fit in with it's surroundings.  No wonder this thing costs so much.
"A man who views the world the same at 50 as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali

Dapperdan

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Re: Discarded courthouse restart cost city almost $1.2 million
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2007, 10:18:33 AM »
Why is the state attorney not looking into this? This is a fiasco of epic proportions. Why can't we have a good news station here that actualy does I team investigations into things such as this?