If building permits for the Franklin County Jail/911 upgrades are not filed with the city of Union by the end of the year, the project costs could increase by more than $4.6 million.

After parting ways with architectural firm Chiodini Associates for their insistence on meeting 2018 building codes, the requests for qualifications (RFQs) for a new firm still include the multimillion dollar contingency and the total construction costs are listed at $35,492,703.

Franklin County Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer said the project was sold to voters with a $30 million price tag and that’s what the county is sticking firm to.

Now, the county is looking for a new firm to work on the jail/911 complex and time is running out to avoid the costly upgrades.

“We told everybody $30 million is it,” Griesheimer said. “They have to figure out how to do it.”

According to information released at a jail construction “kickoff” meeting in April, an additional $4,629,483 had been tentatively added to the price tag for the jail project listed as “seismic upgrades.”

The seismic upgrades are necessary for “last building standing” facilities such as jails and emergency operations centers (EOC). Schools and hospitals would also fall into the category requiring additional supports to withstand natural disasters.

Furthermore, budgets developed by Chiodini and its design team during Phase 1 consistently noted a $4 million contingency for code required essential facility upgrades which were not included in the Phase 1 estimates, but should be anticipated by the county without further progress and coordination with the code officials in Union.

Griesheimer says the county on several occasions, told Chiodini they had no qualms whatsoever in keeping the building plans at the 2009 codes.

“We kept saying we don’t need to spend the extra money if we don’t have to,” he said. “Chiodini kept pushing.”

Request

As of Monday, the county hadn’t received any informational packets from architects. The deadline for them to submit is Thursday, June 14.

According to the language in the RFQ, the county plans to award a contract to an architect on July 3, giving the firm about five months to do their surveys of the facility and submit the permits before Dec. 15.

In contrast, Chiodini had been working on the project since August 2017 and still did not think it was feasible to file the permits before the end of this year.

Griesheimer said the county is now owner of all of the previous work Chiodini has already done on the project and is confident the next firm will meet the December deadline.

“Whoever comes in won’t have to start at square one,” Griesheimer said. “They can pick up on whatever Chiodini has done and start at square two.”

The RFQ document also clearly states the county anticipates the new facility will be designed in accordance with the International Building (IBC) 2018 Code Requirements which the city of Union plans to adopt in January 2019.

“If you determine there is a benefit to the county to permit the renovation scope of work under IBC 2009 Code, permits will need to be applied for prior to Dec. 15, 2018,” the RFQ states. “In your narrative, please specifically state your opinion of whether or not there is substantial financial benefits to doing this.”