County continues to consider ways to reduce costs at Cook County Family YMCA
Whether to work out project reductions with the lowest
bidders on the next phase of the Cook County Family YMCA building or
to re-bid the work was still in question after a discussion by the
county board on February 12. Wade Cole of ORB Management brought the
pros and cons to the commissioners after a conference call the day
before with attorney Ken Donovan.
When the bids for the next phase came in, they brought the project
cost to $1.96 million over its $9.5 million maximum. The Community
Center Steering Committee then came up with a list of how the costs
could be contained.
Attorney Donavon said there could be a legal risk if the county did
not re-bid the project. Companies that were not the low bidders could
take issue with not being able to re-bid when the project was changed
In the conference call, the attorney told the county representatives
that the need to re-bid or not depends in large part on the extent of
material changes within the project. Although there is no clear
definition of when a material change is large enough in scope to
require a re-bid, Mr. Donovan indicated that a 20 percent scope change
is sometimes used as a general rule.
After discussing the items that could be changed to bring costs down,
the attorney stated that the risk to the county was ‘not terribly
high’ and any second low bidder would have the burden of proof of
showing that the county had not done its due diligence.
Re-bidding the work would put the project behind about six to eight
weeks, bringing its completion into 2014.
Costs could also increase because of “reimbursables,” extra costs
incurred in the re-bidding process. The price of construction
materials often goes up in the spring as well, ORB’s Wade Cole said.
Cole told the board that the low bidders had been working with the
design team on reductions that could be made, even though they had not
been awarded the contracts, a financial risk on their parts.
Commissioner Garry Gamble said he didn’t think they should award
contracts without knowing what the revised project would now include.
Commissioner Bruce Martinson commended ORB and the steering committee
for coming up with $1.9 million in reductions to bring the project
back into the budget. However, he said it would be good to know if
the $1.9 in reductions was realistic and thought the next phase should
The board did not make any decisions about whether to re-bid any
portions of the project. ORB will continue working with the design
team and the low bidders, and the steering committee will meet again
on February 25. When the commissioners have more information, they
will consider their options again.