Middle/High School Project Takes Big Step Towards Final Cost Number

Photo: Daedalus Project’s Shane Nolan report on the trade bids during a recent meeting of the Belmont Middle and High School Building Committee.

A sigh of relief was heard from the members of the Belmont Middle and High School Building Committee Friday. Feb. 7 when the bid results from roughly a third of the cost for the $295 million school project came in just under where they thought it would be.

Shane Nolan, senior project manager with Owners Project Manager Daedalus Projects revealed that final bids – which were opened the day before, Thursday, Feb. 6 in a process called “rip and read” – for the 18 trade subcontractors including skills such as masonry, painting, tile work, and plumbing totaled $73.6 million, approximately $1.7 million under their pre-bid estimated value.

“Is this when we cheer?” asked committee member and Select Board Chair Tom Caputo.

The bid results included some large savings in glass and glazing (an underbid of nearly $834,000) and electrical (at $17.9 million, the bid was $1.89 million under the estimate) that off set overbids in HVAC (at $24.4 million was $3.2 million over the estimate) and roofing and flashing (over by $420,000), Nolan told the committee.

With those favorable numbers in hand, the committee voted to add back work struck from the project in 2019 during what Nolan described as the “painful value engineering exercise” which resulted in $19 million cut out of construction.

Brought back from their sidelines will be:

  • Skylights in the High School Maker Space and Middle School Art Room $74,000,
  • A canopy outside the loading dock entrance, $76,000
  • A slab heat ejection at the loading dock $262,000, and
  • Wall tile to four stairwells, $202,000.

Friday’s result is a big step in finalizing the total project cost, according to Bill Lovallo, Building Committee Chair.

“If you want to just look at this as a $237 million project, a third of the job [is underway], a third of the job were in the trades that Shane just read out … and locked in and about a third of the job is still in its final stages,” said Lovallo.

According to representatives from construction manager Skanska, with the trade subcontractor bids included, the total building cost for the project as of Friday’s meeting is $154.5 million. Add into that contingency, insurance and bonds along with management services, the estimated total project cost comes in at $183.0 million.

With a grand total project cost of $237,208,732 – $52 million is coming from the Massachusetts School Building Authority which partnered with the town on the project – the roughly $54.2 million difference is made up of non-trade work controlled by Shanska.

Non-trade contractors are any third party agent that is not directly involved in the major operations of the project.

Unlike the “rip and read” process with Daedalus in which the subcontractors bid is “locked in,” bids for work with the construction manager is “more of a negotiation,” said Lovallo.

The final third of the cost to be revealed in the next six weeks.

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