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Six change orders approved for Howard Commons project

Items not originally included for apartments called ‘oops’

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

HOWARD – Six change orders adding more than $100,000 toward the cost of the Howard Commons project received the approval Monday, April 9, from the Howard village board with some board members expressing their displeasure those items weren’t previously part of the plans for the two apartment buildings.

Ryan Raskin of Altius Building Company appeared before the board to go over the change orders, which included:

• An increase of $39,234 to contract with Dave Jones, Inc. for fire/smoke and radiation dampers and eight additional water heaters.
• An increase of $5,794 to contract with Vos Electric to install conduit and wiring for stairwell heaters.
• An increase of $15,127 to contract with Vos Electric to install boxes and wiring for 33 patio lights and adding circuits to two compressors located on the second and third floors.
• An increase of $3,370 to contract with Vos Electric to wire and install a second kitchen light to 10 units.
• An increase of $26,182 to contract with Vos Electric to add and install 123 kitchen bar light fixtures.
• An increase of $11,558 to J.H. Hassinger for masonry enclosures.

Trustee Craig McAllister questioned why the fire/smoke and radiation dampers and the additional water heaters called for in the change order hadn’t been included beforehand.

“Why wasn’t that included? It’s a reasonable question,” Raskin said. “I guess the only thing I can say is not everybody’s perfect. The engineers and architects have been very good at trying to work through problems, get us on budget and deal with these things as they come up.”

Raskin said the first price he received to include those items came in at around $100,000, before being able to lower the cost to around $60,000 and then down to around $39,000.

“In other words, it was an oops,” Village President Burt McIntyre said of those items not being previously included.

Trustee Adam Lemorande then asked Raskin who is responsible for the “oops.”

Raskin said the mistake ultimately lied with the HVAC designer/engineer, GRAEF, hired by the architect, AG.

“The money we spent for these people to do their jobs is money already spent, and then we catch them on a mistake,” Lemorande said. “Then give us some money back – you screwed up. I know it doesn’t happen like that, but there seems to be a lot of little things in here.”

Raskin said he spoke to Village Administrator Paul Evert and the two of them decided to see how many change orders occur as the project unfolds.

“We did multiple bid packages, because we wanted to get the project in the ground,” Raskin said. “I don’t want that to be an excuse, but on projects we tend to see more contingency projects coming up when we’re building and designing at the same time.”

Being that Howard Commons project involves two apartment buildings with one building scheduled to be completed this year before the other, Raskin agreed with Lemorande “there shouldn’t be as many surprises” with the second building.

Evert said he takes “a little consolation” realizing the changes should have been in the original bid package.

“We would have paid for them anyway,” Evert said. “And secondarily, by GRAEF having to come through and make these changes, it’s actually costing them, because they’re having to put more engineering hours into this as a result. We’re not paying for the additional engineering costs.”

“That sounds like a salesman job,” Lemorande said in response to Evert. “If I’m building a $300,000 house, and you come up to me and say, ‘We missed $20,000,’ I know I’m supposed to feel good, but these little overages, they chip away at you.”

The six change orders were approved on a unanimous voice vote with Trustee Jim Lemorande absent.

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