Construction Estimates Were Off, City Admits

By Kyle Reid | The Pearl

The reconstruction project in Donovan’s Business Park is beginning to look more costly than originally anticipated.

Additional work approved for the commercial park project will now cost the City of Mount Pearl an extra $219,058. But that amount is covered in the existing budget for the project.

The extra work, approved by council during the Oct. 16 regular meeting, was added to the project contract originally valued at $774, 607. It includes additional catch basins, new tops for two manhole covers, relocation of a sign post, additional landscaping and additional patching for road cuts. That will bring the total cost of the project to $1,034,742. Farrell’s Excavating Ltd. holds the contract for the work.

Councillor Isabelle Fry, co-chairperson of council’s Infrastructure and Public Works Committee, motioned that council approve the scope of the additional work.

“Quite often when we have a contract the best estimate is put forward, and change orders are common,” said Fry.

Councillor Andrew Ledwell raised some concern over the high cost of the change order.

“I have to say that this particular change order stood out to me when I reviewed the kit prior to our meeting today,” said Ledwell. “It strikes me as a large amount for a change order given the total cost of the contract.”

Ledwell seconded Fry’s assessment that the price tags attached to large contracts are often subject to revision, but took issue with the cost of the added work in this case.

“I see nearly $220,000 in additional quantities, additional landscaping and patching, additional catch basins, and I just wonder…could this have been handled a bit differently in terms of the estimates (and) in terms of the preparation for awarding the contract?” Ledwell asked. “Is there something that maybe we could do differently so this level of change order is maybe not necessary?”

Mayor Dave Aker asked Director of Infrastructure and Public Works, Gerard Antle, to address Ledwell’s question. Antle described a few issues with the original estimate which caused the cost of the project to balloon.

“Particularly, with an estimate that was prepared on this project, there were some items that were indeed not estimated as well as we would like,” responded Antle.

Antle explained the project management firm working on the project identified additional work needed after the contract was approved. That added work was in addition to a number of quantity changes for project materials, Antle said.

Antle said the issues that created the hefty price costs could be avoided in the future.

“Yes, there is room for improvement,” said Antle.

Posted on November 7, 2018 .