MERIDEN — Close to two months after bids for construction on the Platt High School renovation project came in $6.76 million over budget, three aspects of the work were re-bid Friday.
Contractors will now have until Sept. 4 to submit bids on HVAC, plumbing and electrical work for the $111.8 million project. Three of the priciest portions of the renovations, they totaled $6.3 million above initial estimates. Fourteen of the 21 aspects came in above estimates, but were offset by a handful of bids that were below estimates, including demolition and abatement, which saved nearly $3 million.
“We’re still, at this time, anticipating work beginning at the end of September (or) beginning of October,” said Assistant School Superintendent Michael S. Grove. “As long as the bids come in under budget.”
The Platt project is similar to the $107.5 million renovations underway at Maloney High School. Platt includes the renovation of the interior and exterior of the building, construction of a new section of the building at the corner of Coe Avenue and Oregon Road and the demolition of a classroom wing.
Maloney came in $7.69 million over budget, forcing nearly all of the work to be re-bid. Project officials have pointed to numerous reasons why bids could have been high, including a low number of bidders, pricing from vendors increasing unexpectedly and escalation and margin percentages being higher than expected.
Officials are expecting a savings on the Platt project after the HVAC, plumbing and electrical work underwent value engineering, or the process of substituting less costly materials for ones of higher value. Some redesign work was also completed on the project and other aspects of work were also value engineered with the lowest bidders.
Included in the value engineering was a change to the heating and cooling system, Grove said.
“It was changed to be more cost effective, but it’s not as high energy efficient,” he said.
At last month’s School Building Committee meeting, members expressed frustration over the higher-than-expected bids and the use of value engineering.
“Don’t say that we’re getting the same thing. We’re not getting the same thing,” committee member Bruce Fontanella said. “We’re getting something less.”
Officials with construction management firm O&G Industries had been questioned following the Maloney overages as to whether or not Platt would suffer a similar fate. They expressed confidence in their estimates and opted not to make any significant adjustments.
If the Sept. 4 date for bid openings is not pushed back, Grove said O&G will review bids for “a week or two.” O&G would then have to present the School Building Committee with a guaranteed maximum price for construction work. The price would then need to be approved by the committee before construction could begin.
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