MONTICELLO – Piatt County officials have learned that a new HVAC system at the county’s building on north State Street are more than $100,000 higher than originally anticipated.
“I understand we have to have contingencies, but we have 10% contingencies on the design, on the bid and on the construction, on each one of them,” said Board Chairman Todd Henricks. “I know it’s good to build those in, but that puts us over what we anticipated.”
Preliminary estimates from GHR Engineers and Associates from Champaign, placed the cost of replacing the HVAC system at $651,905. Originally, the board planned to use $500,000 in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to pay for the project.
“When I originally started talking about this, I estimated the project at $550,000,” said Doug Winder, the Piatt County Maintenance Supervisor Doug Winder. “My numbers – because of when things started – were a couple of years old.”
Richard Van Note, an engineer with GHR, told the Building and Grounds Committee that the contingency estimates were necessary.
“The issue is that we are dealing with basically ‘study’ dollars,” he said. “That is why we need these extra contingencies.”
Van Note said the design contingency is based upon the fact that what he has seen so far is “essentially preliminary.” Once the design documents are finalized, he will return to the site and study each piece of equipment and what work it will take for installation.
“When we start doing that, there is an issue where we might find things during the design phase that weren’t uncovered during the study,” he said.
The bid contingency is based upon today’s market and fears of having a shortage somewhere and prices of pieces of equipment go up.
The construction contingency is a standard operating procedure, he added.
“No matter what I do in terms of research, there is always a chance that when we start taking pieces out, we find something that we just didn’t see,” he said. “Those three contingencies probably all won’t be used. We will have some of those and we know we will because that is the way a project works. The idea is not to use all 10% in all phases. But the issue is that when you are planning for a study-based project, we want to provide a number up front that seems realistic without undershooting.”
There will be some energy savings once the new system is installed, but officials are looking for areas to find the extra $100,000 to fund the project.
“It is what it is,” said committee member Mike Beem. “The hope is we won’t have to use the contingencies, but I understand why they are there. If they aren’t in there, then during construction, the engineers will just come back and ask for more money, so I don’t really have any issues with this.”
The full board will consider the request this week.