MFPD board awards $1.1 million contract for new No. 1 house


Staff Reporter

A nearly $1.1 million bid by Hof Construction Inc. to serve as general contractor for the construction of the Mehl-ville Fire Protection District’s new No. 1 engine house won approval last week from the district’s Board of Directors.

The approved bid of $1,099,616 is $220,284 less than the original bid provided by Hof Construction on Nov. 3 when 12 other contractors also submitted bids. The lowest bid of $1,314,000 originally was submitted by Dar-Beck Inc. At that time, the Board of Directors asked Dickinson Hussman Architects to consider value engineering ideas to bring down the cost.

The board also asked Dickinson Hussman to seek value engineering suggestions from the low bidders and then allowed all 13 bidders to submit new proposals based on those ideas. The invitation was extended to bidders Nov. 9 and seven contractors submitted revised bids. The revised bids ranged from Hof’s $1,099,616 to C. Rallo Contrac-ting’s bid of $1,188,685.

Before seeking revised bids from the contractors, Dick-inson Hussman asked the contractors for their value engineering ideas, Dwight Dickinson of Dickinson Hussman Architects said at the board’s Nov. 22 meeting. He added that Hof Construction was “really the only one, it appeared to us anyway, that really made a strong effort to do that,” and came up with a list of five or six items with which to modify the bid.

The company showed a lot of effort throughout the pro-cess, and Dickinson said he would have no problem recommending Hof Construction.

The district’s Board of Directors — Chairman Tom O’Driscoll, Treasurer Dan Ottoline Sr. and Secretary David Gralike — voted unanimously to accept Dickinson Hussman’s recommendation and award the bid to Hof Construction, Inc.

Dickinson explained that the significant value engineering items that helped lower the cost were a reduction in the depth of the bays to 56 feet for the inside dimension, which reduced the cost by about $8,000.

“I know that’s not as deep as we would like it to have been, but one of the ways that you can shrink cost, obviously, is when you can cut out square footage, so that was a significant amount of money just for that one item,” Dick-inson said.

The other item was a change from purchasing a new generator that would completely power the No. 1 house in the case of a power outage, including air conditioning, to now proposing to use the No. 1 engine house’s existing generator. This value engineering item was a significant cost reduction, in the neighborhood of about $45,000 or $50,000, Dickinson said.

“According to the engineers, that generator will suffice to keep the building in operation for an indefinite period of time, with the exception of the air conditioning,” he said.

Assistant Chief John Schicke said that the air conditioning is not on the generator transfer switch now, but once the transfer switch falls and the generator is running, personnel can throw a switch to engage the air conditioning into the system, and he said that might be a possibility again.

Among the other value engineering changes was an elimination of the limestone look to the building, changing it to an all-brick building with the exception of a split-faced concrete block for the west wall that faces an existing residence on Dovedale Lane.

“That’s the one area where it really doesn’t give itself a presence to the public per se, and we’ll make sure that that split-face is going to look very presentable also,” Dick-inson said.

Schicke suggested that among the value engineering ideas, a half-inch decrease in the width of the apparatus bay saved the district only $150. He said it seemed like a small amount for something the district could never “fix” or enlarge later. The board and administration were in agreement and took that change off the list.

The fire district received $1.15 million from the Mis-souri Department of Transportation for the state’s purchase of the existing No. 1 firehouse property on South Lindbergh Boulevard because MoDOT is improving the intersection of Lindbergh Boulevard and Lemay Ferry Road with dual left-turn lanes and dedicated right-turn lanes at all approaches.

In April, the Mehlville Fire Protection District purchased the property for the new house for $225,000. The property is placed at Dovedale Lane on the west side of Lemay Ferry across from Mehlville Senior High School.

Dickinson explained that the board had the option to put the project out for bid again, but he believed that the district should go with Hof Construction as the low bidder.

He added that he has been getting more and more reports of increased construction costs because of rising material costs.

“We can put it out to bid, but I cannot tell you that we would do better than this number here,” Dickinson said. “I think it would be pretty much a crap shoot to think that we could get it down to this $1,099,000.”

Dickinson added that he has never worked with Hof Construction, but he did an in-depth qualification study on Hof a couple of years ago.

“It was very interesting. They really have a fine reputation here in the St. Louis area. I’ve seen some of their work. We’ve toured some of the buildings they’ve done in the past and they do an excellent job,” he said, adding that Hof Construction does a lot of work for the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

He said that as a family owned small contracting company, Hof will work in favor of the district.

The original low-bidder, Dar-Beck Inc., did not submit a list of subcontractors required on the original bid nor did it do so with the revised bid, despite Dickinson Hussman’s request. Dar-Beck’s revised bid was $1,120,422 — $193,578 less than its original bid, but $20,806 more than Hof’s revised bid.

The revised bids, compared to their original bids, were as follows:

• Hof Construction, Inc. — original bid, $1,320,000; revised bid, $1,099,616.

• Orf Construction — original bid $1,345,200; revised bid $1,107,367.

• Dar-Beck Inc. — original bid, $1,314,000; revised bid, $1,120,422.

• Hankins Construction Co. — original bid, $1,375,000; revised bid, $1,121,974. The company’s value engineering list was received two days late.

• John Kalicak Construction Inc. — original bid $1,364,000; revised bid, $1,240,983. The company’s value engineering list was received two days late.

• Abdelmalek Construction Co. — original bid, $1,398,900; revised bid, $1,165,405.

• C. Rallo Contracting Co. Inc. — original bid, $1,660,000; revised bid, $1,188,685.

Contractors that did not submit revised bids, but did submit original bids for the construction of the engine house included Design & Construction Services Inc., the J.E. Foster Building Co., Hart Contracting Inc., Kozeny Wagner Inc., Vince Kelly Con-struction & Remodeling Co. Inc. and Keith Contracting.