Franklin County commissioners said Wednesday that it is time to stand up to contractors who want the county to pay for unforeseen costs.
Commissioners told Larry Hueter, project manager for the expansion of the county jail, to send a letter to a Spokane contractor questioning why the county should pay to renail the roof of the new facility.
Hueter said contractors used a process not covered by warranty when the roof was built. Nailing the roof again will cost $3,753.
The item should have included in the contractor's initial bid, Commissioner Brad Peck said.
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He said by allowing such change orders to go through opens the county up to companies winning bids on projects by giving one cost, only to say they need more money after they are awarded the bid.
"You tell the contractor, 'You bid it, you build it,' " Peck said. "I don't like the fact that we have to be the local government entity that doesn't say, 'Where do we sign?' But there's 80,000 people who want us to push back."
Commissioner Rick Miller agreed.
"It's the nature of the beast, in a sense," he said of contractors trying to add costs to projects. "But someone's got to put a stop to it."
A contingency fund was set up for the jail construction to deal with situations like this, Hueter said.
Phone messages by the Herald left with the Kennewick office of general contractor Lydig Construction and roofing subcontractor Cobra Building Envelope Contractors of Spokane were not returned. Spokane-based Lydig has $18 million in contracts on the project, which includes adding a new 216-bed unit to the jail, renovating the existing jail and adding two new municipal courtrooms.
Commissioners asked staff to prepare two resolutions for their meeting next Wednesday.
One item would pay for several other change orders Hueter brought before the board on Wednesday, but not the nailing.
The other resolution would pay for all the items, if commissioners learn more by next week and feel comfortable paying for the nailing.
-- Geoff Folsom: 509-582-1543; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @GeoffFolsom