The “middle of the road” estimate to build a new police department and administrative building in Byram is $5.5 million, with $4.5 million covering the construction portion of the cost.
But Deputy Mayor Raymond Bonker said he verified with an independent estimator, Mark Alpaugh of MJA Construction Services, that the “$5.5 million number is not something that is chiseled in stone. There could be variability in the marketplace.”
Alpaugh told officials at the joint Feb. 9 meeting of the township council and municipal building subcommittee that in the competitive bidding process, the high-to-low bid rate could be in the 10 to 12 percent range on either side of the $4.5 million. He said his “middle of the road” estimate is an industry standard.
Wassim Nader of the Nader Architectural Group agreed the total project should come in at around $5.5 million, with the construction portion estimated at between $4.2 to $4.4 million.
After more than three hours of discussion, the council decided to go ahead with the Nader Group’s design for the new municipal building.
They also agreed to consider at their next meeting updated quotes from the Nader Group for site plan development, bid and construction documents, the Phase I environmental soil study, and whether to contract with Alpaugh for his services.
At the beginning of the meeting, Mayor Alexander Rubenstein said the council approved a double-blind estimator approach from both Nader and Alpaugh. Neither could see the other’s estimate until the township received a copy from both of them, he said.
They then compared notes, discussed discrepancies, and submitted updated estimates to the town.
Alpaugh said the building was small with a very simple, basic design. He said the relative cost per square foot is very competitive to similar projects. He noted that the council is spending a lot of money on attics, and that he understood the need for storage.
Councilwoman Cris Franco said as long as the building is up to code and fills the town needs, she did not mind it being simple. When the building subcommittee visited other municipal buildings, she said, they were always told there is never enough storage.
Alpaugh said he is assuming the contract is a single, prime lump sum contract, where one person obtains all of the sub-contractors and coordinates everything, including site-work.
In a reorganization of the building subcommittee, Scott Yappen was voted to be the new chair and Skip Danielson the new deputy chair.
“The $5.5 million number is not something that is chiseled in stone. There could be variability in the marketplace.” Deputy Mayor Raymond Bonker