Water main project awarded to KCH Contracting

Published 6:12 pm Friday, March 24, 2023

The Windsor Town Council voted 5-0 on March 14 to adopt a resolution awarding the Duke Street and Virginia Avenue Water Main Replacement Project’s construction to KCH Contracting LLC.

Councilman David Adams abstained from voting.

TWO ROUNDS OF BIDDING

The resolution adoption comes after a second round of bidding for the project.

It was on Dec. 13 when the Town Council emerged from a lengthy closed session and voted to reject the first round of bids it received and then voted to rebid the solicitation.

“Town Council voted unanimously to reject all bids in the recent solicitation for the Virginia Avenue/Duke Street Water Main Project, as the scope of the project was not portrayed in some bid documents as expected by the town,” Windsor Town Manager William Saunders stated in a Dec. 14 email.

He noted that the council then voted unanimously Dec. 13 to authorize the rebidding of the project solicitation in January, with the bid alternate for open cut of the driveways included, the pre-bid meeting being voluntary rather than mandatory, and other necessary minor revisions.

During the council’s March 14 meeting, Saunders noted that the project was put out for rebid on Jan. 4, and six bids were received Jan. 31. He said they were vetted by Nitant Desai and staff of Bowman Associates Consultants.

THE WINNING BIDDER

“KCH Contracting LLC is the lowest responsive bid and responsible bidder for the construction of the project at $565,774,” he said.

He explained that $750,000 is programmed in the fiscal year 2023 Capital Improvement Plan and FY23 budget from American Rescue Plan Act funds for the project.

Lastly, he noted that adoption of the resolution enclosed in the council meeting packet would authorize and direct him to do all the things necessary to proceed forward with the contract with KCH Contracting LLC, and he recommended the council adopt it.

CONCERN OVER VARIANCE IN BID AMOUNT

Prior to the council’s vote, Adams directed a question to Town Attorney Fred Taylor in reference to the document providing instructions to bidders for a construction contract.

Adams read the following sentence from the document before asking his question: “If owner awards the contract for the work, such award will be to the responsible bidder submitting the lowest responsive bid.”

“So as long as they responded and it was deemed technically acceptable by our engineering firm, if they were the lowest, we were going to happily accept it?” he asked.

Taylor indicated that was correct.

“And that’s by law, statutory,” Taylor said.

“So that’s what I was going to ask,” Adams said. “OK. So if it’s statutory, then all my other questions are irrelevant, other than we would have to reject all bids and then we would have to rebid it again. OK, all my questions are overcome by that.”

Saunders explained how the vetting process works.

“The fact that they’re the lowest bid, what they do is they check out the bid tab sheets and confer with them to make sure that each of their unit prices are reasonable and in line to make sure that it’s a responsive bid,” he said. “And then they check the references of other work that they’ve done similarly to make sure that they’re a responsible bidder.”

Adams indicated that his concern was rooted in the significant variance of KCH Contracting’s bid from the bids of the other companies.

“When I start looking at a median price of the five other companies at $1.5 million and (KCH Contracting is) at $500,000, I get very nervous that something’s not a realistic price, but I don’t want to put this out for rebid again,” he said. “It’s just more time.”

“Yes, I understand,” Saunders said.

Councilman Walter Bernacki then made the motion to adopt the resolution.