By Cole Parkinson
A few facilities in the town of Taber will be getting a fresh set of paint in the coming weeks.
The town solicited a request for proposal (RFP) to painting the exterior of the Community Centre and Aquafun Centre on June 15 with the pre-bid meeting being held on June 26 with representation from eight different companies.
The RFP closed on July 26 and six companies submitted proposals including R.C. Construction (Taber), MiPride Painting and Decorating (Calgary), Derochie Floor Coating Systems (Lethbridge), Ar-Tech Coating (Taber), CertaPro Painters (Medicine Hat) VHL Construction (Taber).
Tender totals, excluding GST, were at $68,520, $86,099, $86,815, $238,656, $277,388 and $279,258 respectively.
Submissions were graded on a 100 point system where responsiveness to specifications, schedule/delivery date/ timeline, warranty/support, project approach/ methodology/work plan, vendor history/experience references and total cost were all graded.
Derochie was ranked first with 91 points and was recommended by staff to be awarded the tender while R.C. Construction came in second with 89 points. With R.C. providing the lowest tender, council had questions how significant the two points were.
“We’re talking about two points difference, from 89 to 91, and we’re looking at an $18,000 difference in price. You had just used R.C. for Parkside Manor, did they do good work and were they on time?” asked Coun. Joe Strojwas. “The way I see it is, R.C. Construction is lower and only two-point difference.”
In terms of the previous project where the town used R.C. Construction, administration says there were a few problems.
“There were some concerns with the workmanship there, we did have to go in and repair after the fact,” said CAO Cory Armfelt.
The biggest issue they had with the work was a floor plank that had to be re-fitted and glued back down with the work being done by Town of Taber staff. Another big factor for R.C. Construction’s lower score was the failure to completely submit everything the town had requested.
“R.C. doesn’t have a schedule plan which they were asked to submit so we don’t know what their timeline is going to look like. Whereas with Derochie we do have that and can hold them to it,” said Aline Holmen, director of recreation.
Questions then came from council about how important the schedule plan was and why it needed to be included in the grading process.
“The reason we asked for it was to help show they had a clear understanding of the depth of the project and that was not included,” said Louise Parsons, procurement manager.
Other concerns came from the overall costs of the tenders.
With three coming in at under $100,000 and three coming in well over $200,000, council questioned why there was such a steep gap between the prices.
“My huge concern is from the difference from the first three and the last three. Are they looking at a different product? How can the be almost two and a half times higher?” asked Coun. Jack Brewin.
Staff didn’t have any concrete answers why there was such disparity, though they were confident the job would be done just as good from the lower priced tenders.
“You’re always taking a guess at why those things happen, ultimately it could have to do with the type of experience those companies have. Do they often do painting jobs? They may be anticipating more things they have to fix on the building when they get in,” answered Parsons. “In my experience, I would always look at these and take the bottom three bidders, if they are within 10 per cent, you’ve got a good bid.”
With this project, staff did not set any firm deadline for completion though they did ask for timelines.
They also realized weather could play a big factor in completion dates as windy days would push the date back and cause delays.
Derochie set their timeline for completion at seven to 10 weeks upon award while R.C. Construction was at 30 days.
Administration also highlighted the fact they wanted the work to be wrapped up by October when arena activity starts ramping up.
They also estimated the timeline from Derochie factored in weather delays, though the deadline would be fairly tight to the October end date.
“I’m inclined to go with the lowest bid. You sign the contract and they have 30 days to complete the job. If there’s a windstorm obviously there is room,” said Strojwas.
Others on council though thought the entire tender and rating process was thrown by the wayside if they didn’t follow staff recommendation.
“If we don’t follow our recommendation, it undermines the tender process and why bother going through the point system at all. We asked for a work schedule, R.C. didn’t submit, therefore it is incomplete. They disregarded what we asked for so they should be penalized for that. It’s $18,000, we’re not awarding it to the company whose bid was $279,000. I understand $18,000 is not insignificant,” said Coun. Carly Firth.
Coun. Strojwas also wanted to have the rating system updated to better show how each company was graded.
A motion was put forward to award Derochie Floor Coating Systems the tender for the painting of the Community Center and Aquafun building and was passed by a 3-2 vote.
Mayor Andrew Prokop and Coun. Joe Strojwas opposed the motion.
Councillors Garth Bekkering and Mark Garner were absent.