SIBLEY – After a stop and start, the engine is running for a new truck shed in Osceola County.
The building in southwest Sibley was severely damaged by fire in April, which also destroyed several trucks stored inside.
The Board of Supervisors approved Keith Brann’s plan on Tuesday, Oct. 24, to move forward with the two more expensive offers he received.
The bidders were Christensen Construction of Estherville and Graves Construction of Spencer. Brann recommended approval of the $1,119,712 deal proposed by Graves.
“The obvious low bidder was Christensen Construction,” Brann said. “However, their offer was accompanied by a letter of qualifications.”
Graves made what Brann called an unconditional offer.
“So, reviewing the terms or qualifications that were added to Christensen’s offer, some of them were obvious things that weren’t really material to the offer itself, but there were four elements that made me object to their offer that I felt represented an unfair advantage,” Brann said.
One item included the company not purchasing construction risk insurance and expecting the county to do so, stating that rates could change in the future which Brann said conflicted with the difficult bidding process. Christensen also recommended a retaining wall on the southwest corner of the building.
“Their bid, especially in the foundation/concrete segment, was well below the Graves price, so the assumption is that if you start adding things like a retaining wall, that brings their bid up to the price or maybe above the Graves price,” Brann said.
Christensen also stated that it would not be able to meet the completion schedule listed in the bid documents.
“I spoke with Christensen about these issues,” Brann said.
“They realize they added this to their bid. They felt it was a last-minute concern and they felt it exceeded the deadline we set for bidder questions and the bid addition process.”
Even though the deadline for asking questions was passed, Christensen could have asked those questions, and the district could have chosen to extend the deadline to submit bids or answer the questions, he said.
“I would also like to point out that they were one of the bidders in the first round of bidding, so they have seen this thing for two months or more,” Brann said. “I feel like these questions could have been asked and answered.”
With these concerns presented, Brann recommended approving the offer from Graves Construction even though it was approximately $30,000 higher than Christensen’s offer. Brann added that he spoke with representatives of the Iowa Communities Assurance Pool who said either contractor would be acceptable.
Policy coverage through county insurance should cover the majority of the replacement cost.
The Council agreed to follow the engineer’s recommendation.