Sequim to pay $30,000 to rejected architects for work on City Hall, police station designs

By Joe Smillie
Peninsula Daily News

SEQUIM –– Sequim will pay $30,000 to a firm whose design for a new City Hall and police station was rejected by the city’s design review committee because it was $900,000 over the city’s maximum price.

In total, the city has paid $155,000 to the two firms whose designs were not chosen for the complex in the 100 block of West Cedar Street.

City Council members voted 6-0 after a 45-minute executive session Monday night to approve the $30,000 settlement payment to the design and build team of Hoffman Construction of Seattle and Belay Architecture of Tacoma. Councilman Erik Erichsen left the meeting prior to the vote.

“The reason they’re getting some money is because they did a lot of work on their proposal,” City Attorney Craig Ritchie said.

Hoffman and Belay had spoken with the city about getting paid for their design work but did not file action against the city, Ritchie said.

The runner-up team of architect Miller Hull Partnership and contractor BNBuilders was paid a $125,000 honorarium for its design efforts.

Ritchie said state law requires public agencies to pay honorarium payments to teams that submit proposals that fit the city’s request but are not selected.

While the city set that at $125,000 when it called for design-build bids, officials did not feel they should pay that to the Belay/Hoffman team because their price was well above the city’s approved maximum price.

“In order to get that honorarium, they had to have a responsive project,” Ritchie said.

“This one was almost a million dollars over the mark of our guaranteed maximum price.”

Last week, City Manager Steve Burkett signed a contract with Lydig Construction and Integrus Architecture to build the designed City Hall and police station for a maximum price of $11.85 million.

The three teams all overshot the city’s initial $11.65 million maximum price. In response, the council unanimously approved raising the limit to $200,000 in November.

Instead of the typical process in which the city has architects bid to design and then contractors bid for the construction job, Sequim had asked for firms to collaborate on a package to design and build the new City Hall and police station.

Belay/Hoffman had asked for the full honorarium, Ritchie said, arguing that their design effort required hours of staff time.

The council decided the firms should be compensated for the value their participation provided the city, Erichsen said.

“They spent a lot of their own money preparing their designs,” Erichsen said. “So those that don’t win should be able to walk away with some compensation.”

Ritchie agreed.

“There’s value to us in that three teams probably provided us more competition,” Ritchie said. “I think we got something for it”

The settlement also allows the city to incorporate elements of the Belay/Hoffman proposal in the final design of the new building.

City officials are set to meet with Lydig/Integrus this week to go over the new building’s plans.

Demolition is scheduled to begin in March or April.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Editor Joe Smillie can be reached at 360-681-2390, ext. 5052, or at jsmillie@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: January 15. 2014 6:47PM
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