06/09/13 — County pays $35K, ready to move foward with design/build

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County pays $35K, ready to move foward with design/build

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 9, 2013 1:50 AM

Wayne County has paid $35,000 to RATIO Architects to terminate its contract with the company and is expecting to receive all of the firm's design work for the new Steele Memorial Library in Mount Olive by the end of the week.

Once the designs are in hand, the county will be able to proceed with drafting a request for qualifications for design/build teams interested in doing the work, Noelle Woods, county purchasing manager, told Wayne County commissioners during their Tuesday evening meeting.

Wayne County is one of the few counties in the state authorized by local legislation in the General Assembly to utilize the design/build approach for construction projects. Commissioners at their May 21 session asked that Ms. Woods make a presentation on the process.

An architect and general contractor form a design/build team that works under one contract with the project owner, in this case the county, to provide both design and construction services.

The local legislation authorizing the use of design/build also placed certain restrictions on the county, Ms. Woods said.

First, the county must pre-qualify and solicit at least three design/build teams to bid on a project. Second, it must receive at least three sealed proposals from those teams.

If three proposals are not received, the county can proceed with the proposals it has received provided the project has been publicly advertised for at least 30 days.

"We will do a request for qualifications and in that we will state the amount that we have budgeted for that project, or the amount per square foot that we are looking for," Ms. Woods said. "But as far as qualifications are concerned, they won't per se send us in a bid at the qualification point. They will know what our budgeted amount is."

In earlier meetings, commissioners set the amount at $120 per square foot. The Steele Memorial Library Steering Committee is reimbursing the $35,000 to the county.

Daughtery asked if the submitted qualifications would be given to the board's Facilities Committee to discuss possible "tweaking" of the plans.

"What we did with the Senior Center, which is what we will probably do here. We had eight that came back to us, design/build teams," Ms. Woods said. "I have had several companies call me already interested in doing this. So I feel like we will have quite a bit of interest in this.

"We will take whatever we receive and the committee will sit down and look at all of the proposals. They can interview all of them or make a short list. (The design/build teams) will come in and they will actually give us a proposal, show us a design. They will take our design we already have and go over it with us and kind of tell us what their ideas are to value engineer to make it better and cheaper than what we already have."

For example, the team might recommend moving a restroom from one area to another to possibly save money, Commissioner Joe Daughtery said.

That is correct, Ms. Woods said. The county also has the ability to negotiate with that team on pricing, she added.

Board Chairman Steve Keen asked Ms. Woods if something would be ready for the board by its June 18 meeting so that it could proceed on the library project.

Ms. Woods said that she would try.

"Once I receive the drawings, I will have to get with the facilities director, and we have to sit down and write the specifications out," she said. "Once we get that written, we have to set a meeting for the Facilities Committee. I understand there is a 48- hour (public) notice that we have to give for that.

"The committee will have to meet to go over the RFQ to approve. Once they approve it, then I would be ready to come back to say, 'We are ready.' I don't know that I can get that done in two weeks."

Keen encouraged the Facilities Committee to meet next week anyway.

At that time, the committee could at least be updated and a better timeline established, County Manager Lee Smith said.