Houston council is signing a $202,279 contract with McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd. for the design and construction of the water treatment plant.
McElhanney is not a company that specializes in water treatment, said Tony Edwards, Houston Interim Director of Engineering and Development Services, at the council meeting last week Tuesday.
Council is also seeking a contract with Opus DaytonKnight Consultants Ltd. to do a peer review of the McElhanney design plans.
Council budgeted $330,000 for engineering and four companies sent proposals bidding for the water treatment plant contract.
McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd. bid $202,279, MPE Engineering Ltd. bid $394,911, Opus DaytonKnight Consultants Ltd. bid $413,395, and Stantec Consulting Ltd. bid $627,841.
A task force evaluated the proposals and sent a report to council before the meeting last week Tuesday.
“I like the idea of McElhanney,” said Mayor Bill Holmberg.
“They certainly have the qualified subcontractors to bring into the project for any expertise.
“They don’t have a lot of experience in water treatment plants, but they’re certainly a reputable company throughout B.C.” he said, adding that their bid offers a $200,000 (or more) difference from the others.
Edwards said he had the same feeling, and his plan would be to get the design plans from McElhanney, review them, and have them reviewed by DaytonKnight.
“If DaytonKnight is on board with what they’re doing, and I’m okay with it… then we’ll move forward,” he said.
Mayor Holmberg asked if DaytonKnight would be the best choice to peer review, in light of the fact that they were one of the original bidders on the contract.
Edwards says that shouldn’t affect their input.
“They’re professionals, and if they don’t want to do it, they can always decline,” he said.
Edwards says he recommended DaytonKnight because they are close – based in Smithers instead of Alberta where MPE and Stantec are based.
Asked if the savings are worth the trouble of having two contracts, Edwards said the task force that evaluated the proposals was divided on that.
“As far as they were concerned, the best value per dollar is MPE,” said Edwards, adding that he recommended McElhanney.
He’s worked with McElhanney for over 25 years and they’re a good professional company.
Councillor Brienen said he felt there was no easy choice.
“If we go with MPE or DaytonKnight, we’re starting off over budget, but if we go with the lower one [McElhanney], then we’re not getting the expertise,” he said.
Councillor Kyle Thomson said he thinks that McElhanney, with the DaytonKnight peer review, made a good middle ground.
Councillors agreed and the design plans begin immediately.
Edwards says construction will likely begin next spring 2014.