Courthouse costs exceed budget

Published 9:58 am Wednesday, August 15, 2018

The cost for Charlotte County’s new courthouse has exceeded its original $13.9 million budget, according to Skanska’s Project Manager Tim Burge at a Tuesday meeting of the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors.

“During this process of the project, we’ve tried to manage the budget to the $13.9 million and we’ve came real close,” said Burge. “Some of the issues we’ve had is … some things that have come up … things that just come up whether it be something’s not working here or something’s not working there … different things that do come up during construction.”

In light of this, Burge asked the county to increase the current $13.9 million by $125,000.

Burge said there have been requests from the Supreme Court throughout the project and some were expensive.

He said among the additional items, the Supreme Court requested 26 additional data jacks.

“Did somebody not anticipate that in the design?” asked Drakes Branch Supervisor Garland Hamlett, Jr.

“You’ve got to remember this building was designed a long time ago and architects from the state did the approval of the drawings. So now, that judge is no longer here.”

He said the data requirements may be different now than they were 4-5 years ago when the building was originally designed.

“We absorbed as much as we could and I think we’ve done a pretty good job for you …” said Burge.

He said all the costs could’ve been managed in the budget, however, “back in the beginning of the design, and just before construction, during the design of the contract document (and) the construction documents phase … there was input from the county … from the people in the county where changes were made to the drawings as they were being completed …”

He said the changes resulted in about $40,000 in costs being added on the project.

Burge said after the project was bid, the public came back again with an architect requesting changes.

He said the post bid design changes were very expensive, totaling about $89,417.

“I think it’s most unfortunate that, that be brought up,” said Red Oak/Wylliesburg Supervisors Kay Pierantoni.

She said the Supervisors are elected to be the leaders and the facilities committee should have been overseeing the process and having citizens involved.

“But at some point, you say no more,” Pierantoni said. “So to now get to the end, I don’t think citizens ever got to make decisions … I don’t want this to go on record that this overage is being blamed on citizens or being blamed on judges …”

Burge said footers could have been started three months sooner, however, they were not started until January/ February 2017.

“That’s three months that we could not put footers in, in the dry weather,” said Burge.

He said the winter of 2017 was a horrible winter and those three additional months could’ve prevented the contract from being extended.

“The work that Blair (Construction) had to do extra was $297,337,” said Burge.

He said another cost for miscellaneous changes added an additional $7,314. Other additional costs included extended services for Skanska and Glave and Holmes totaled $115,000.

“Then, because it wasn’t closed out, you’ve had to pay Skanska and Glave and Holmes for July another $18,000,” said Burge.

He said with all the additional costs, the total rested right at $525,109.58, although he said the month of August still needed to be paid to allow completion of the project, which would be over $13,000 in additional monies between Skansa and Glave and Holmes.

Burge said $560,000 in additional money was in the budget when it was set in May 2016 for contingency.

“We managed the project as best as we could,” he said. “We did owner direct purchase process working with Blair Construction where the county saved $105,843.62 to help cover some of these costs.”

However, he said since then, the last change order signed resulted in the courthouse project being over budget. He said some of the additional changes included exit signs in the Clerk’s office and TV’s/cameras in the courtroom. He said additional items could be needed that have not come up.

Burge said move in days for the new courthouse were July 2-3 and substantial completion occurred July 5, when the county took ownership of the courthouse.

At this time, punch list items are still being worked to be completed.

Blair Construction has until Sept. 3 to complete all close out documents. If not, Blair will be required to pay $250 per day based on their contract.

A public hearing has been set for Sept. 11 during a regular meeting of the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors “for the purpose of amending FY 2018- 19 County Budget for re-appropriation of previously unexpended appropriated funds for ongoing capital projects and local appropriated school operating funds.

“You realize that when the project wasn’t completed by June 30 as we had to do last year, we had to have another public hearing to reappropriate the money to be spent in this year,” said Chairman of the Supervisors Gary Walker.

He said additional school funds would also be reappropriated at this time.