Wednesday, October 01, 2014

City to rebid T-hangar project at Ottawa Municipal Airport

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 5/30/2014

A plan to add more T-hangars to store private aircraft at Ottawa Municipal Airport is not cleared for takeoff just yet.

Upon the advice of city staff and the city’s engineering consultant, Ottawa city commissioners rejected two bids for the project which both came in at least $50,000 more than the engineer’s estimated cost.

A plan to add more T-hangars to store private aircraft at Ottawa Municipal Airport is not cleared for takeoff just yet.

Upon the advice of city staff and the city’s engineering consultant, Ottawa city commissioners rejected two bids for the project which both came in at least $50,000 more than the engineer’s estimated cost.

“We currently have 10 T-hangars out at the airport, and all of those are rented,” Bill Ramsey, the city’s interim public works director, told city commissioners May 21.

Demand for more aircraft storage space at the airport would accommodate at least 10 more T-hangars, Ramsey said.

“A determination was made if we added an additional 10, we would have use of those for other plane owners here and folks coming in [to the airport],” Ramsey said. “This project is eligible for Federal Aviation Administration funding for part of the construction cost, so we went forward with the project and, unfortunately, the bids came in over the engineer’s estimate.”

Bettis Asphalt & Construction Co. Inc., Topeka, was the low bidder for the project at $740,525, while a bid from Emory Sapp & Sons Inc., Kansas City, Missouri, came in at $819,974. The engineer’s estimated cost was $687,954, according to city documents.

Brad Weisenburger, with Professional Engineering Consultants, Topeka, Richard Nienstedt, city manager, and Ramsey have had conversations about refining the project’s requirements to reduce contractors’ costs and bring the bids more in line with the engineer’s estimate, Ramsey said.

“After those discussions, we believe there is a reasonable opportunity to go forward with revising some of the requirements and rebidding the project, based on the information that was received,” Ramsey said.

Weisenburger also had obtained feedback from contractors and FAA staff about the project, he said.

“We recommend that you reject the bids for a variety of reasons,” Weisenburger said.

In addition to the bids coming above the engineer’s estimate, Weisenburger said, the contractors were concerned the 120-day timetable for the project might not provide enough wiggle room in the schedule for getting steel materials delivered to the construction site at the airport, 2178 Montana Road, southeast of Ottawa.

“You could look at extending the period of construction, or the FAA recommend a ‘stop-work order,’ which means that after you’ve completed [a defined amount] of the project, you can stop and wait for delivery of material,” he said.

Another drawback to the first round of bids, Weisenburger said, was that contractors did not provide specific-enough information.

“We asked contractors to use unit prices, but they gave us a loose, lump sum deduction, so we really didn’t get a good feel for what a 10-unit, 8-unit and 6-unit T-hangar was going to cost,” Weisenburger said. “We’ve come up with a strategy to help make sure that we get a good number for each [set of T-hangars],” Weisenburger said.

City commissioners voted 5-0 to reject the bids and authorized rebidding the project, which still is slated for completion this year.

Jack Miller, chair of the Ottawa Municipal Airport Advisory Board, has been kept in the loop about the bids and the proposal to rebid the project, Nienstedt said. Miller, Ramsey and Weisenburger planned to meet Wednesday to discuss the rebidding process in more detail, he said.

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