The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 30, 2010

SBC to use design-bid-build process

The Carlisle School Building Committee (SBC) passed a motion on April 15 to use the traditional, or design-bid-build, method for the construction phase of the building project. Carlisle’s Owner Project Manager Sean Fennell of Daedalus, Inc. recommended the design-bid-build method, instead of the newer technique, known as Construction Manager (CM) at Risk. After discussing the pros and cons of the two approaches, the committee agreed with Fennell.

The CM at Risk contract is also called a “cost-plus” contract, meaning the company is paid for the construction plus a management fee. Unlike the traditional method of design, bid and build, where each phase runs sequentially, in a CM-at-Risk contract a construction manager is brought onto the project during the design phase. The bid process is different as well. With design-bid-build projects, the contract is usually awarded to the lowest bidder. With CM-at-Risk, the quality and evaluation of the company and bid are allowed to be used to award the contract.

“The CM at Risk is good for design review,” said Fennell, “but this committee does a good review. The CM at Risk can cost more. It also places more demands on the architect.”

SBC Chair Lee Storrs noted the need for supervision of the construction. He said, “One advantage with CM at Risk is that our specific site is in the heart of an active campus. It will be tough and will require the sequencing of jobs.” Committee member Robert Wiggins said that by not having a CM at Risk manager, “we miss having the constructor thinking through the process. Many things are time-related. Someone has to go through that and sort that out.”

“I’m sensing a tremendous burden on your organization,” Wiggins said to HMFH Architect Laura Warnick. Warnick replied, “That is part of what we do. It’s always good to have another set of eyes, but Daedalus will provide that. You have two companies, HMFH and Daedalus.”

Storrs asked how reference checks are done in the design-bid-build method. Fennell said each company will go through a pre-qualification process. “We are very familiar with many subcontractors,” he added. He said the process would overlap with finishing the construction documents. HMFH Architect Arthur Duffy said some high-quality companies that normally stay away from public projects are looking for work, “It will be interesting to see which companies bid.”

Storrs said, “Between you (Fennell) and HMFH we will have a good sense of who is building the schools.” Wiggins said, “In my opinion we can rely on the architect.” Storrs agreed. “If we keep the focus on sequencing constraints, I’m fine with the traditional bid method.” Wiggins asked Committee member David Flannery for his opinion. “I see the advantage of CM at Risk,” replied Flannery, “but we can do a good or better job with what we have.” ∆

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