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Construction costs for Brunswick police station lower than expected

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Construction costs for Brunswick police station lower than expected

BRUNSWICK — The ultimate cost of the new police station could drop after bids from subcontractors were lower than expected, Town Manager Gary Brown said Monday.

The winning bids totaled about $4.58 million, Brown said, or more than $52,000 less than an estimate in August. 

He said the new figure is final until any change orders are made.

The winning bids represent subcontractors chosen by Brown, architects Donham & Sweeney, and construction contractors Ledgewood Construction.

"We're feeling better about it than we were in September," Brown said.

Brown said the new figure has not changed the project's total $5.6 million budget, but allows a higher contingency fund of about $371,000, or 7 percent of the project's total costs.

The 7 percent contingency means firms working on the project will have more funds available for any mistakes or accidents that occur during the 10-month construction project. Donham & Sweeney originally estimated the project would have a 6 percent contingency.

Before the winning bids were chosen, officials were concerned about the possibility of a lower contingency fund for the project because Ledgewood found that a thicker, more expensive foundation was going to be required

As a result, Jeff Shaw of Donham & Sweeney warned Brown in September the contingency fund could shrink by at least 50 percent if the bids came in at the higher end.

"The owner's contingency was included in the project budget and set at 6 percent of the construction cost," Shaw wrote in a Sept. 20 e-mail to Brown. "It would be cut by more than half if it had to absorb the entire increase. It is risky to proceed with such a low contingency, typically we do not recommended carrying less than 5 percent owners contingency at the start of a project."

Brown said he is relieved the contingency fund didn't go any lower and actually increased to 7 percent.

He said the winning bid for the foundation came in higher than original estimates, but lower bids for other work offset that cost.

Brown said site work for the new police station at Pleasant and Stanwood streets started on Nov. 19 and major construction work will start in December. He said the building's estimated completion date is Oct. 1, 2013.

Dylan Martin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or dmartin@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DylanLJMartin.