After a change order that angered the Franklin County commissioners was deemed a necessary action, a plan has been put in place for the remaining three years of the county jail/911 center renovation project.
Last week the commission voted to deny a change order that would increase the overall price of a communications tower being installed at the county jail by $385.
At issue was the tower being upgraded from a single phase to three phase after the original contract was competitively bid and awarded to P.B. Electric, LLC. The decision to allow the cost increase was done without the commission’s approval.
Second District Commissioner Dave Hinson said he had a serious problem approving something that was not approved before the work was done.
“There was no approval before the action,” Hinson said. “I know it’s only $385, but we didn’t know about it until after the fact.”
In addition to the denial of the increased cost, Commissioners Hinson, Tim Brinker, and Todd Boland vowed to investigate who approved the change without their knowledge.
On Tuesday, Brinker told The Missourian the culprit was the firm managing the $30 million project, Navigate Building Solutions.
“It turns out if they hadn’t approved the change, it would have caused an eight-week delay,” Brinker explained. “Navigate has done a good job of verifying all change orders, but this wasn’t even brought to our attention until after it was done.”
Now, commissioners are putting their collective feet down on the potential for added costs to any county projects funded with taxpayer money — and if it has to happen, they have to approve it first.
“We’ve mandated that Navigate give us biweekly updates on the jail project,” Brinker said. “We also came to an accord that all future change orders are brought forth and approved or denied in a public forum.”
He added if an emergency arises that a change order needs to be made in less than 24 hours, the standard time required by law to post a public commission meeting, the commissioners could act accordingly, but that would only be acceptable in extreme circumstances.
There are about 50 contractors who expressed interest in bidding on the jail project and all awards will have to be vetted and approved by the county purchasing department and the commission for the most economical price.
“The only way there should ever be a change order is if we (county) request it, or there is an act of God,” Brinker said. “We have to make sure the tone is set that we are intolerant of change orders.”
According to county documents Navigate will be paid an estimated $2,056,860 for its work on the proposed $30 million jail/911 renovation and expansion project beginning in August 2017 and extending to 2021.
As of July 11, 2018, Franklin County has already paid Navigate Building Solutions $79,943 for work dating back to August 2017.
For the remainder of 2018, Navigate received an additional $395,885 broken into monthly payments.
For July through November of last year, the monthly payments were $60,906 and they increased to $91,358 for December.
In the first three months of 2019, Navigate made $213,170 also through monthly payments of $91,358 in January and $60,906 in both February and March.
Beginning April 2019, Navigate will receive $77,619 per month for the next 17 months of construction for an additional $1.3 million, bringing the project time line up to August 2020.
According to the latest report given to the commission earlier this month, the jail construction should be complete by winter 2020 with additional and final renovations carrying over into spring and summer 2021.