Clarenville town council is moving forward with its detailed design for a new fire hall, expecting to open the request for proposals (RFP) in the new year.
After it became clear this year there would be no government funding available to the town to contribute to the building of a new fire hall off O’Mahony Drive, council decided to continue with their efforts and call for a private-public partnership agreement with developers.
The current fire hall is in the same building as the town hall. According to council, moving the fire depot to a new facility would not only provide a more substantial space for the department but provide an opportunity to renovate and expand current town hall on Pleasant Street.
As the next step in that process, the town has chosen a detailed design for developers to follow to bid on the fire hall project. The design was chosen from one of two concept plan strategies to be completed by the architecture firm Fougere-Menchenton.
Having already commissioned general concept plan drawings from the architect, the town needed detailed designs — either the less costly general design or the more expensive option of a detailed design.
Council ultimately decided to approve the more expensive detailed design option, giving developers a clearer picture to bid on the project.
In addition, since the design is more detailed, the town can more easily compare the developers’ proposals to ensure they not only get the results they want, but also which bids are the best fit in the evaluation process.
Coun. Paul Tilley, chair of the finance, administrative and planning committee, called the second option “a fuller picture of what the building would look like and what it would cost.”
Council agreed unanimously.
Mayor Frazer Russell is pleased with the decision, calling it “certainly wonderful, great news.”
Chief administrative officer for the town David Harris further explained the decision to The Packet.
“It lowers the risk for the town in getting a building that could be more cheaply built but more costly long-term,” said Harris. “From a comparison perspective, when you’re comparing bids, it makes it much easier.”
Also, as stated by Coun. Lloyd Parrott at the Oct. 23 council meeting, if the town can’t come to an agreement with a developer after issuing an RFP in the new year, they’ll still have detailed designs which could be valuable if they have to go back to the drawing board.
“If it comes back that this is not financially feasible, we’re back to the only option we would have then is to apply for capital funding through our multi-year capital works with Municipal Affairs in 2021,” explained Harris. “We’d be a couple steps ahead of where we are now (with this option).
“For what you’re getting, the lower risk and the better final product, it justifies the extra expense and it’s not money wasted.”
Harris told The Packet he’s already received calls from contractors and developers interested in the private-public partnership agreement with the town for the fire hall.
“At the end of the day, it will all come down to what the numbers look like and we will see if it’s financially feasible,” said Harris.
Fougere-Menchenton is currently working on the design and Harris says it should be ready for February, 2019.
The two design options for the fire hall
Council recently decided between two design options for the planned fire hall next year. The options were as follows:
• Use the concept plans they already have, including an architectural, mechanical and electrical specification to indicate scope of work and regulatory requirements. The final design would then be prepared by bidders, with the building materials and other specs varying among the different developers.
That option was estimated to cost $52,848 plus HST.
• Issue the RFP with a more detailed design than the town already has, with design and tender specification of the building up to 80 per cent complete, including building materials and other minutia.
This option was estimated to cost $92,048 plus HST.