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Monmouth plans to use nontraditional process for police station project

MONMOUTH — The Monmouth City Council decided at its Jan. 21 meeting to go with a construction manager/general contractor method instead of the traditional design/bid/build for the new police station.

January 28, 2014

MONMOUTH — The Monmouth City Council decided at its Jan. 21 meeting to go with a construction manager/general contractor method instead of the traditional design/bid/build for the new police station.

Project Manager Doug Roberts of Hill International said he prefers the construction manager/general contractor setup for a number of reasons.

"You hire the builder based on qualifications early in the design process," Roberts explained. "They become part of the design team to work with the architect."

The construction manager takes nearly completed drawings out to bid to subcontractors and can guarantee a price, he said.

The design/bid/build, or low-bid method, which is preferred by the state, is quite different, Roberts said. First the architect draws the designs. Those designs are put out for contractors to bid. Whoever bids the lowest and is qualified is awarded the contract.

He said in his experience, while the initial contract amount will be lower with the design/bid/build method, it leaves the city exposed to change orders.

"You may end up with a more costly project at completion," he said, adding that he had no proof of that.

With the low-bid process, Roberts has found a contractor has either used incorrect up the numbers or left out expenses, whereas in the construction manager/general contractor model, there are far fewer surprises.

"Hopefully he is moving forward as a team member instead of sitting on the other side of the table," Roberts said.

The city will begin searching for a construction manager and schedule a public hearing to take comments on draft findings for an exemption from the competitive bidding requirements.

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