City Hall projects require rebidding

The elevator modification, accessible front door ramp and security improvements in the City Hall lobby need to be rebid following a botched bid opening earlier this week that involved a complaint by a contractor.

One company bid $180,000 more than another because it added a project the other company avoided in the bid.

As bids were announced by Reynolds Construction Management Inc., of Harrisburg, the representative from TurnKey Construction submitted $585,440 on a “base bid,” and J.C. Orr Inc., bid $397,800 on the general construction base bid.

Meanwhile, bids for the elevator modification included those from Port Elevator, $169,500 and Otis Elevator, $270,942.

The confusion on the general trades bid resulted in David Witmer, on-site construction manager with Reynolds, reading the document to clarify a rebidding is in order.

The confusion occurred with an elevator was listed in a section as part of the base bid, the TurnKey representative said.

Additionally, two of the proposed projects are considered to be “add-alternate” bids — a ramp and security doors/walls on the first floor lobby, which added problems.

Council required the bids to be “add-alternates” in order to make the elevator modification, should it not pass inspection, a priority and get a good idea of the costs involved in the ramp and security improvements.

Mayor Gabriel J. Campana said the alternate bids were confusing and he would have wanted a simpler bid package. He said he believed the council was stalling and “studying to death” projects in order to drag them out until the budget time and the end of his term.

But leadership of council disagreed with Campana’s assertion.

“Add alternates are common parts of many contract bids,” Councilman Randall J. Allison said.

“Any assertion that they caused confusion is not only uninformed but a bit of a red herring,” he said.

The project has three distinct parts. Council believed it would be an easier and more transparent way to bid them, Allison noted.

Additionally, he said, the administration was at the council meeting the night of the add-alternate decision and was aware of what the purposes for it were.

It also was learned this week the elevator didn’t fail inspection, but rather is safe to operate but will need to be repaired in the future, according to Adam Winder, general manager of streets and parks department.

“It’s kind of not a pass and not a failure,” he said. “It is safe to operate and will continue to be,” he said.

Once the bids are opened again, council will review the costs. The estimate of the projects accumulated is $650,000.