As part of the design and construction process for the new police facility approved by voters in February, a five-member panel was spent several months reviewing Requests for Proposals for a construction management company to oversee the building process. Mike Svaby, Public Works Director, explained that the city received nine RFPs which the committee narrowed down to three, Whiting Turner (WT), Richard Y. Johnson (RYJ) and GGA/Willow Construction (GGA). The committee’s final recommendation was that RYJ be awarded the contract.
“On May 20, 2021, all three firms were invited to come to Public Works to give a 45-minute, timed presentation, allowing for a 15-minute question and answer period,” Svaby said. “All three were presented with the rating evaluation scoresheet as well. Initially, the panel ranked WT first, RYJ second and GGA third.”
After that presentation, Svaby began a fact-finding and negotiation effort beginning with WT due to their ranking after the presentations. Questions were developed to rank the qualitative and quantitative factors, including price. There were nine factors including formatted price, fixed price ranking only, change order fee, historic starting and finishing project cost and number of change orders issued, average fee charged for CM/A contract, percent of firm’s fee included insurance cost, projects undertaken in the last two years, percent of projects that led to further award to DE subcontractors and two types of differences in working day count. Those nine factors were then broken down into most and least preferred.
“RYJ was first place overall, capturing nine out of ten of the most preferred factors,” Svaby said. “WT had least preferred in six out of ten factors and GGA had one most preferred, three least preferred and six that were between most and least preferred. These factors and the related information provide the indication that RYJ is the best on price, or quantitative, and best on qualitative factors.”
Svaby also presented an example of the differences in pricing between the three firms.
“Although we can borrow up to $20 million, we expect the project to be less than that, so I used a $16 million figure,” Svaby said. “If the project costs $16 million, RYJ’s fees would be around $746,200. GGA would cost around $1.1 million while WT would cost around $1.2 million. In addition, preconstruction, design and estimating assistance would cost $20,000 with WT and $15,000 with GGA while RJT does not charge for that service.”
Councilman Jason James thanked Svaby and the committee for going through this process to choose a construction manager.
“We are not in the process like the committee who will oversee this construction,” Councilman James said. “This gives us an inside look at how this was done in an objective manner.”
Councilman Doug Morrow asked Police Chief Kenneth Brown if he was pleased with this choice.
“RYJ has been working with us since day one, so yes, I am very pleased with this,” Chief Brown said.
Council approved the appointment of Richard Y. Johnson as the construction management firm for the facility unanimously.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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