City Pursuing Two Firms For Same Job
By Samar Fay Courier Editor
Published: Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
The city of Glasgow is now dealing with its fourth group of architects to get a new roof on the leaky south side fire hall.
Last year, the city contacted Slate Architecture of Helena to design and bid the repair of both the water plant roof and the fire hall roof. Director of Public Works Bob Kompel said that there would be economy of scale in doing both roofs with the same architect and crew.
However, some Council members wanted to explore a metal pitched roof on the fire hall. In March 2012 Slate wrote a letter recommending a single-ply membrane roof for the irregular multiple planes of the building. In May Slate wrote another letter outlining concerns with a pitched roof. The Council wanted to use wood trusses; Slate said retained moisture from the old roof would rot them. Only steel would work, and mechanical ventilation would be necessary. They noted that the metal retrofit system could cost nearly twice as much as the membrane reroof.
In August city officials conferred with Slate and two more firms, JGA Architects and CTA Architects, both of Billings. They got opinions on the material to use, quotes on fees for the services that would be necessary, and estimates of the construction cost of the roofing project.
According to Kompel, CTA was eliminated because the fees for services were much higher than the other two. They did comment that membrane would be a good option. Slate would revise their costs and respond, but would not install wood trusses. Durell said he wanted the wood trusses. JGA said they could do it and their services fees would be $19,110.
At a regular Council meeting on Oct. 1, the five Council members present voted unanimously to hire JGA Architecture for their professional services in designing and bidding the project. One of their architects came to Glasgow in early December, reviewed the existing roof and visited with City Attorney Dave Gorton, Carney and Kompel to finalize the agreement. It was approved by Gorton on Dec. 14.
In the meanwhile, Durell told the Council that the costs were too high and he would look around for someone else to do the job for less.
He got a proposal from A&E Architects of Billings in mid-January that was much cheaper than JGA’s, $2,000. It was also “only a proposal,” according to Gorton. Kompel said it was vague and left the city open to lots of extra unknown charges. JGA’s was a lump sum, done with their own measurements. A&E’s proposal was on an hourly basis, using provided measurements.
The city attorney’s opinion, rendered in writing on Jan. 31, was that comparing documents from the two companies was like comparing apples to oranges. Based on the Council’s official actions, JGA had proceeded with work in good faith and the city might be liable for their services and even additional damages.
A Feb. 7 letter from JGA says they are “more than a little confused as to the current direction and state of this project.” They estimated they had spent about $2,000 to date and were anticipating profits totaling $2,000.
“It seems reasonable to expect to be paid for work completed to date in good faith, as well as some amount for the loss of planned profit should the Council terminate our involvement in the project,” the letter stated.
At a special Council meeting on Feb. 11, Durell moved and the Council decided, by unanimous roll call vote, to have City Clerk Stacey Amundson ask MMIA, the city’s insurance company, if they owe JGA $2,000.
“I do bids all the time and don’t get paid for it,” Durell said, referring to his construction business. “Welcome to the real world.”
The Council tabled agenda items for a decision on which architectural firm to hire for the fire hall roof and a decision on directing Council Member Durell to inform A&E Architecture of the Council’s decision.
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