City approves emergency amendment to repair fire damaged building at Public Works complex

City Commissioners voted during their Sept. 3 meeting to allow staff to amend an existing contract with the lowest bidder of another project to add another building at the city’s Public Works facility under an emergency provision of state law.

A building in the Public Works complex was severely damaged in a February fire. The heated building houses multiple pieces of heavy equipment and protects it from freezing conditions, according to staff.

Jim Rearden, city public works director, told commissioners that $1.5 million worth of city street maintenance equipment, or 13 pieces of heavy equipment, were stored in the building.

Commission approves $602K contract for improvements at public works complex

Immediately following the fire, city staff filed a claim with the city’s indemnity carrier, the Montana Municipal Insurance Authority, to repair the perform testing, damage and loss assessments and cleanup of fire debris and residue.

Rearden said that in April, they cleaned and tested equipment and in June, MMIA indicated that the city needed to bid for repairs.

The city already has two building construction projects open at the Public Works complex and retained Nelson Architects, which is also contracted for architectural services for other Public Works facilities, to prepare plans and specifications for restoration of the building damaged in the fire.

Rearden said staff are proposing to add this building repair to an existing contract in order to complete the repairs before winter.

State law exempts bidding and advertising in the case of emergencies as caused by fire and allows the commission to alter or amend plans of a contract when necessary.

Since the fire investigation and assessment process took months and with impending winter weather, staff determined the need to solicit proposals to repair the building as soon as possible, according to staff.

Two contractors, EJ Carpentry, LLC and James Talcott Construction, Inc. are currently under city contacts for building improvements in the Public Works complex.

Since those companies are already operating in the complex, “staff determined that to best meet the emergency situation and serve the public interest, that staff would solicit proposals from these two contractors for an amendment to the prices, scope of work, and bonding requirements of the existing contracts,” under state law, according to staff.

A requirement of the proposals would be an ability to complete the project by the end of October, according to the city. Repairing the building now would avoid the need and cost for temporary heated storage for existing equipment and materials, according to city staff.

Those two contractors have been asked to provide bids for the additional work and the city’s basis for accepting a proposal will be based on lowest cost, ability to complete the work in the contract time frame identified, according to staff.

The project will salvage most of the structural steel components, foundation, floor and most overhead doors, according to staff. Fire damaged areas including the roofing, siding, insulation, mechanical, electrical, lighting, and some overhead door components will be replaced in this project.

The replacement cost of the fire damaged building components will be indemnified by the MMIA and any cost above that amount will be funded through the city’s street facility fund.