The Schuylkill County Area Vocational Technical School Board in Mar Lin, Pennsylvania, hired a construction manager to replace the roofs at the Schuylkill Technology Centers in Mar Lin and Frackville recently at a projected cost of $1,710,000—approximately $800,000 less than would have been spent had it gone through with a state contract Master Intergovernmental Cooperative Purchasing Agreement arrangement with The Garland Co.The board had been planning to hire Garland, a roofing manufacturer it had worked with numerous times, to do the project for $2.519 million. But board member David Frew suggested the roof committee investigate alternatives to the no-bid Garland deal. Frew wrote in an e-mail to the Republican Herald that Garland was “the manufacturer and the installer and the designer, and it was specified just for their product.” As a result, the district had “expected that they would come in a few percentage points lower” than the “not-to-exceed” number of $2.519 million established through the U.S. Communities cooperative purchasing deal. This was not the case.
“The state contract procurement, while convenient, may not offer the most competitive approach to this type of work. Our experience with other school districts is that better pricing can be obtained from the marketplace via competitive bids vs. the state contract,” Frew wrote.
Instead of signing the contract, the committee researched options and hired Performance Construction Services as the district’s construction manager. Performance suggested an EPDM synthetic rubber roofing membrane roof with a 30-year warranty, and estimated the two projects should come in closer to $1,710,000. The project will be bid and will include architecture, engineering, and roof consulting fees to observe the installations.