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 
significantly.
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 
be re-bid.
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.