Indian River County, FL Commissioner Questions How the County was Charged $ 732/Day for the Site Superintendent Overseeing the Construction of Fire Station 13.

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Indian River County Commissioner Tim Zorc / District Three

ON SEPTEMBER 13, 2016 THE INDIAN RIVER COUNTY (IRC) COMMISSIONERS MET TO APPROVE STAFF’S RECOMMENDATION TO “AUTHORIZE  A ONE (1) YEAR EXTENSION” TO THE IRC’S “MASTER DESIGN/BUILD AGREEMENT WITH BARTH CONSTRUCTION.”

In so doing, IRC would allow Barth Construction (Barth) to complete construction of the station at the North County Aquatic Center and award Barth the contract to design/build the a new fire station referred to station 14, at 26th street, just north of 66th Avenue, also known as J. C. Property.

Commissioner Flescher moved to extend the contract for one year, which was seconded by Commissioner Solari.

Following the second, Commissioner Zorc spoke up about how Barth should complete construction of the fire station at the North County Aquatic Center, as he did not want to “disrupt” it, but that the construction of the new station 14 should fall under the purview of the Public Works Director, Richard Szpyrka, who “builds all our capital projects.”

He indicated that “the truth is in the numbers as to why we need to look at something different.”

For the construction of fire station 13, Commissioner Zorc indicated IRC was charged $ 236,000 for project management and field supervision. He cited that the construction duration from the 1st building inspection to the last building inspection was 176 days, which amounted to $ 732/day “billed by the contractor for the superintendent that’s running the job.”  Further, he said when you add in “$ 86,000 for site plan approval” as well as  professional architectural, surveying and engineering services, it cost the county “well over $ 300,000 to get it permitted and watch construction take place.”

“On the surface,” he said, “that’s a lot of money for a two-bay fire station.”

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As a result of this discussion, Commissioner Flesher amended his motion to “ensure that our entrusted administration in fire science incorporate with other individuals within the confine of this building to look and access any costs savings measures…that would not compromise health safety and welfare of those who are assigned in the building or who are served by the existence of the buildings.”

This motion was carried 4-0; Commissioner O’Bryan absent.

Then at the County Commissioner’s meeting on December 20, 2016,  where IRC Emergency Services Director John King presented Work Order Two for the Design/Construction of the new station 14, Commissioner Zorc again expressed concern that on the project management side, which is conducted by a person who oversees the permitting process and site plan, that their work incurred 14 weeks of billing at Barth’s rates, for one person full-time working five days a week.  When he looked at that he said it was a “flag, that’s just a concern.”

“It’s a lot of money and seems to be a lot of hours.  14 weeks to go into estimates just seems to be a lot of hours.”

As per the video of that hearing, there was no report, as Commissioner Flescher amended his motion, about “other individuals within the confine of this building to look and access any costs savings measures…that would not compromise health safety and welfare of those who are assigned in the building or who are served by the existence of the buildings.”

A motion was made to approve Work Order Two, was seconded and it was approved three to two, with Commissioner Solari and Commissioner Zorc dissenting.

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As per Section 287.055, Florida Statutes, as confirmed by IRC Attorney Dylan Reingold, Barth has a “design-build” contract with IRC.

The design-build contract is a single contract with a design-build firm for the design and construction of a public construction project.

A design build contract is solicited with the intention that the winning firm would design-build the various improvements identified in the RFQ. “Q” is not based on quotations.  It is  based on qualifications.

As such, prior to April 2005, when IRC entered into a the Master Design/Build Agreement to Provide Professional Services “to provide professional architecture, site planning, civil, structural and building engineering  related work for the planning, design and construction or repair, renovation, retrofitting and improvement of fire stations in Indian River County together with demolition and and removal of stations ruined  by storm damage…” the award was based on qualifications rather than bids.

The same was true prior to the next Master Design/Build Agreement entered into on August 11, 2011.

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