By Linda Dillman
Contracts move across a lot of desks in Canal Winchester and there are multiple ways agreements can be reached for constructing buildings and providing services to the community.
City of Canal Winchester Construction Services Administrator Bill Sims is the man in charge of administering contracts, whether it is preparing the way for the bidding process or overseeing a project.
Sims said three contracting methods are used by the city including design/bid/build, which is Canal Winchester’s typical process; design-build; and Requests For Proposal.
“Basically, we’re not tying our hands into one solution for every project,” Sims said. “There are a number of different contracting methods out there. This can open it up for the city to select the contract method. Design/bid/build is our normal process. It is generally seen on the larger projects.”
Under design/bid/build, the city collaborates with an engineer to develop a detailed 100 percent design; evaluate bids and select a contractor under a lowest and best standard; get council approval; then execute the contract.
The design-build process, which consists of a design and cost proposal coupled with a contract uses a proposal request process, is usually open to a maximum of five participants.
The contractor is responsible for both design and construction.
“We have used this a couple of times now,” Sims said. “It is basically a two-step process. There is more risk put on the contractor and less on the owner.”
With a Request For Proposal, the city reaches out directly to the contractor(s) with an invitation, project description, exhibits and specifications. It is frequently used for lower value projects such as the tree program, pavement repairs and utility repairs.
Examples of this process include the Westchester shelter, renovation of the interurban building and water plant remodel.
“This fits well for us,” said Sims. “The time frame is less complex. It is nice to use where time is critical for us.”
The upcoming renovation of the 36 S. High St. municipal complex is intended to meet the needs of Fairfield County sheriff deputies covering law enforcement service under a contract with the city. Sims said the project fits well with the RFP process and he recommends the city pursue that process.
“We’re looking at a cost somewhere around $125,000 to $135,000,” said Sims. “Pages and pages of architectural drawings are not needed for that. We can turn it around rather quickly and utilize that building as soon as we can. I think we can leverage our working relations with the contractor we have working on the municipal building. It seems it is in the best interest of the city to save some time and money on that.”
A criteria plan developed for the renovations include more secure and open space for deputy work areas, a location for interviewing individuals, a property room and a reception-type window. Sims called the plan “modest” and said it was done in consultation with sheriff department sergeants.
Sims also plans to ask Canal Winchester City Council to waive competitive bidding for the project, which focuses the process from a wide pool of people down to a specialized/specific group of contractors. He will bring legislation to council in April for approval.
Sims said the goal is to obtain the best possible scenario for the city.
“That’s what were after,” said Sims. “That’s why the language is there in the charter. Not every one of those (projects) fits every single situation. Some fit better than others in certain situations.”