South Glengarry office renovation estimates high due to missing paperwork: architect

Brett Shaw with architect J.L. Richards of Ottawa, Ont. makes a presentation to South Glengarry council on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020. Shaw says the contingencies for the municipal renovation are unusually high because his firm never received paperwork from the municipality for the building skematics. (Zoom/South Glengarry via Newswatch Group)

LANCASTER – The firm hired to plan renovations for the South Glengarry municipal office says its estimates are high because it never received background paperwork from the municipality.

Essentially, J.L. Richards was flying blind as far as planning the interior of the Oak Street building, not knowing what is behind all the walls in the 2,000 square foot space.

The options for renovations, with contingencies factored in, run anywhere from $284,306 to $337,912, depending on the number of offices and wall material used.

Brett Shaw and Orlando Barone of J.L. Richards were asked by Coun. Stephanie Jaworski Tuesday night why their contingency values were so high at 40 per cent of the project cost compared to the typical 25 per cent.

“In the RFP, it was mentioned that we would receive existing drawings and that was actually not a part of what we did end up receiving, which is fine. But that means that there is a lot of survey for mechanical duct work. We actually don’t know…how the mechanical duct work is running and operating due to the fact we don’t have existing drawings,” Shaw said.

During the meeting, nobody on council nor staff asked why the firm did not receive the drawings.

“If we had existing drawings, correct, you would be receiving a Class D estimate and it would be at 25 per cent contingency.”

South Glengarry councillors expressed concern about the overall cost estimate to renovate the municipal office but agreed to forge ahead with getting architectural drawings completed.

“We always have to be fiscally responsible but in this case, considering this is something that wasn’t necessarily budgeted for this time, we need to be even more restrained,” Jaworski said.

The councilwoman added that she would like to see local, small businesses “integrated” into working on the building.

Coun. Martin Lang added that he is happy with the drawings but he is concerned about the price. “I think we should continue on. I think we should get the drawings finalized at this point. I’m definitely not saying at this point I want to go ahead with the project. But we’re half way through this process, let’s just finish this process.”

Lang also wants to see smaller, local businesses get some of the reno work.

The next phase to complete the architectural drawings is $24,220, which will be covered in the $50,000 budget.

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