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By Tammye McDuff
The City of Bellflower initiated a competitive selection process December 2014 to secure a qualified design entity to build the LA County Fire Museum and Event Center Project. The first step of the Executive Project Committee [EPC] was to establish four qualified Design / Build Entities [DBE] that would participate in the Request for Proposal [RFP]. Only one entity, Abbott Construction, submitted a proposal in the initial amount of $6,599,900. After design discussions, Abbot Construction submitted a revised bid of $8,158,131. It was determined that Council would reconvene to discuss the status of the Project as it relates to the scope, size, structure and additional monetary considerations.
Abbott’s proposed design called for a building approximately 16,600 sq. ft. in size, with the cost per foot estimated to be $398. The EPC expressed concern regarding the size, which led to an extended period for Abbott to make modifications and provide a revised cost and implementation plan. Abbot responded with a 19,700 sq. ft. building constructed of steel and stucco with an estimated cost of $7.8 million, roughly $396 per sq. ft. A subsequent meeting between City and Abbott was held to discuss additions which resulted in a third revised Project cost of $8.2 million. As the EPC continued to work with Abbott, it became clear the initial budget quoted in the RFG would not yield the type of structure the City desired.
The 16,600 sq. ft. facility was significantly smaller than originally anticipated and did not provide adequate space for the ground floor museum or second floor event center. The 19,700 sq. ft. building accommodated the needed space but did comply with the City’s design. The actual cost range, gathered from other construction companies, varied between $380 – $420 per sq. ft. The EPC concluded that the City should reevaluate the size and design of the building.
Based on the initial RFP it has been determined that several design features should be included in the RFP, such as an open ceiling design, two elevators and include associated cost with every item in revised documents.
The conclusion by Council was to consider and provide direction to the EPC to revise the budget and design for the museum and event center. The EPC will attempt to encourage more construction companies to participate in the proposal process, provide the City with multiple design choices all while staying under or within the proposed budget.
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