A public workshop on restrictions and requirements regarding an upcoming Blanco County building project enlightened Blanco County Commissioners.
Denise Cheney, from the legal firm Bickerstaff Heath Delgado Acosta LLP, presented a Special Workshop on the procedures for a building project regarding Block 4, Johnson City, to the Blanco County Commissioners. The workshop was held in the Meeting Room of the Courthouse Annex in Johnson City on February 26th.
Using a 30-40 page PowerPoint presentation, Cheney gave an overview of how to best serve the community through a variety of “Construction Contracting and Delivery Methods.”
Cheney described how to best go about selecting an architect, with a variety of optional methods available for the selection process. Under state law, the project requires an architect, Cheney explained, “who will then sub-contract with the engineers and others involved in the project.” No fees can be discussed for the project till the architect is selected, according to Cheney. Additionally, a list of very specific questions will be provided for the architect’s selection process as a competitive bid process will not be used.
“It is required that a highly structured selection process be employed in order to find the highest qualified architect and provider of services based on the demonstrated competence and qualifications,” Cheney said. It’s at that point, once the architect has been chosen, she explained, that contract negotiations will begin.
“The goal is to determine the best value for Blanco County, rather than just finding the lowest bid, and the highest ranked doesn’t always have the lowest bid,” Cheney clarified for those in attendance at the workshop. “In order to find the highest ranked service providers, we use a very heavily structured process.”
According to Chapter 271, Subchapter H, Local Government Code, there are six Alternative Construction Delivery Methods available: Competitive Sealed Bids; Competitive Sealed Proposals; Construction Manager Agent; Construction Manager-at-Risk; Design/Build; and Job Order Contracts.
For each method, Cheney explained, “before advertising, the governing body determines the delivery method that will provide the best value for the project and will establish selection criteria incorporating price, contractor’s reputation, quality of work, and any other relevant factors to the building project.” Candidates will then be ranked and then negotiations will begin with the 1st ranked candidate. If an agreement with the top candidate is unreachable, negotiations are to be terminated, then begun with the next-ranked candidate. Documentation must be kept for the selection process and evaluations made public not later than the 7th day after the contract is awarded, Cheney said.
”The Construction Manager at Risk or Competitive Sealed Bid Proposal are the two most commonly used delivery methods for this type of project,” Cheney explained. Cheney suggests that the “Construction Manager at Risk” option be used in this building project, with the Construction Manager performing no construction services.
“Our intent is to pay cash for the building project,” said Judge Guthrie, “as long as it stays within an affordable range.”