Delaware County’s new courthouse construction cost has increased from $38 million, which was forecast in March, to $38.6 million — due to a labor shortage in the construction industry.
Gary Rutledge, vice president of Lend Lease Inc., told county commissioners Monday there is a lot of construction going on. “We were not able to get as many bidders as we would like,” he said. “We were challenged by the timing of this project because of the market place.”
According to Rutledge, there is a labor shortage. “It’s a labor shortage that prevented a lot of people from being able to bid on the project,” he said. “We reached out to the Cleveland market, West Virginia, Cincinnati and to all our contacts that we have thorough all the state of Ohio.”
Rutledge said the older laborers are retiring and there aren’t that many younger people coming into the industry.
Rutledge said some companies were invited three to four weeks ahead of time to place bids. “In some of the cases we only got two or three bids,” he said. “We were disappointed.”
Rutledge told commissioners the guaranteed maximum price “guarantees that what you have on the documents right now will not exceed the GMP.”
If there is money left over from the project, “we will return it to the county to offset the overage,” Rutledge said.
Jon Melvin, interim facilities director for the county, told commissioners, “We will review quarterly and, if we decide we don’t need the money, we’ll give that back to the county.”
Commissioner Gary Merrell expressed concern for cost but also said he wants a building the county can be proud of.
“It’s not the time to nickel and dime, but we want to do it as inexpensively as possible,” Merrell said. “There is a quality level we also want to maintain.”
“We’ll continue to monitor the contracts to curtail cost,” Melvin said. “All these items were looking at, we’ll make sure they don’t jeopardize the building.”
Lend Lease Inc. is the construction manager.
Lend Lease’s deadline for all construction to be completed? “June 30, 2017, is the date we’re committed to by contract,” Rutledge said.
The 94,450 square-foot building will feature plazas between the Hayes Building and the main entrance, and will have two levels of underground parking, with the lowest level for staff and the public and the second-level parking for staff and separate in-custody defendant delivery. The third story will house the Clerk of Courts Office, grand jury space, adult court services and public parking. The fourth and fifth stories will house courtrooms, hearing and mediation spaces. There will be in-custody defendant holding areas on all five stories for security purposes.
D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.