Carleton Place council makes rare move of re-tendering construction contract

Posted on: September 13, 2017

Matthew Behrens

As Carleton Place’s bustling construction season carries on into the fall, the town’s policy review committee met Sept. 12 to discuss a series of bids for future work, with one highly unusual decision not to accept estimates for one contract and to reissue that tender at another date.

“These prices are awfully high,” said Paul Knowles, the town’s chief administrative officer, in reference to a number of bids for the Carambeck site works. With the 2017 budget for a snow dump, dog park and Carambeck parking lot coming in at $602,000, the low bid for the Carambeck site alone was $585,000, which if accepted would have possibly displaced another $255,000 in additional budgeted work from stripping the public works yard and constructing berms and a pathway around the perimeter to grading, fencing, and topsoil and seed.

Knowles noted that higher unit prices for some items significantly exceeded anticipated costs, with one storm sewer quote originally estimated in a June 2017 price of $246 per metre coming in at $576 per metre, a single component that increased the expected price by $100,000. Town staff recommended a number of options in response, including cancellation of all additional work for 2017 and proceeding when future funding is available, and not awarding a contract (or a portion of the contract) while exploring the possibility of better prices in 2018.

“We don’t do this very often,” Knowles said, but council members agreed that it was wiser to wait until the spring to see if better quotes could be obtained. That issue will be revisited with a new tendering process in early 2018.

In the meantime, the heavy equipment is expected out this fall for work along the Ottawa Valley Rail Trail between Coleman and Moore Streets, with expected activities to include the breaking of rock for a drainage ditch, installation of culverts, and grading of the property.

After considering a range of quotes for breaking rock, with a number of them in the range of $350 per hour, council members approved a staff recommendation to contract the work to Volundur Thorbjornsson, who quoted a price of $225 per hour.