Office building coming together

Contracting bids for the upcoming Ward County Office Building were opened Tuesday afternoon at 4 p.m. to a very packed audience in the Ward County Commissioners chambers at the Ward County Courthouse in Minot. The three prime bids submitted for the upcoming Ward County Office Building each came over the $15,300,000 budget allotted for the project. A mixture of multiple prime bids, mechanical, and electrical contracting bids, however, came in below budget.

Just considering the base bids submitted, the least expensive option would come to $14,542,950, which would leave $757,050 in the budget for upgrading the building with some of the alternate plans. That least expensive base level number comes from a combination of Mattson Construction’s multi-prime, Mowbray and Sons Plumbing & Heating’s mechanical, and Main Electric’s electric base bid numbers.

Those companies bidding as single prime contractors would work as overseers of the entire project, managing and subcontracting out the various parts of the project. For their extra administrative services, their bid numbers would include supervisory premiums that multi-prime bidders wouldn’t need to include. A multi-prime bidder is bidding out each part of the construction in an a la carte fashion allowing the Ward County Commissioners the greatest leeway in bringing the entire project together within budget.

Still, assigning contractors to specific functions lacks the convenience and streamlining of hiring a single prime contracting firm.

Sacrificing convenience, though, allows for more money to be spent on upgrades and since the beginning the “Skyway” alternate, labeled “Alternate 3,” and building a shell of a fourth floor on the northern part of the split building to allow for expansion later, labeled “Alternate 1,” have reigned supreme in consideration.

The commissioners appeared pleased with the bids received, according to Don Davison, the architect from JLG Architects who has been the figurehead for the project, in a phone call to The Minot Daily News later that evening. While the single-primes were above the target number, he says that crunching the subcontracting bids can allow for great room to make the project as nice as possible.

Commissioners will meet again in their chambers Thursday at 9 a.m. to announce the final choices for administrative contacts and to award the bids.