Additional engineering costs will push the final price of repairs at the Flagler Beach pier past original projections, and the temporarily rebuilt structure is now scheduled to fully open to the public by the end of May rather than the original target date of May 1. But the structure will be in shape to host big events, including the July 4 fireworks show.
The additional costs may add $45,000 to the bill, but much of that would be paid by insurance and the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), as is the overall price tag of pier repairs, pegged at $917,000 when the contract was awarded to Orlando-based Construct Co. in February.
Insurance is picking up the largest share of repair costs, but the city has a $300,000 deductible. FEMA is expected to pay the largest share of that, leaving the city with a bill of $37,500–before the additional costs. The pier lost about 160 feet of its eastern end, including the entirety of the fishing “T” area, during Hurricane Matthew. The structure is being rebuilt without that stretch, pending the design and development of a more permanent, possibly longer, structure in the future. That permanent structure may be more concrete than wood.
The delayed opening of the pier to the end of May was not the contractor’s fault. “It took us three weeks to get all the documentation in order, that was not the contractor’s fault,” City Manager Larry Newsom said. “We had some things that took us longer than expected after the award.”
This evening’s City Commission agenda had included an item from Newsom requesting approval of an amendment to the original contract with Mott MacDonald Florida, the engineering firm overseeing the project, “to extend the time and amount for services” for the pier’s repairs. Mott MacDonald was originally to be paid $80,000. The request was for an additional $45,000 pushing the engineering firm’s total potentially to $125,000, and the costs to the city, after deducting FEMA’s portion, to $15,625–just for the engineering portion. (The total cost of the project to the city, combining construction and engineering, would be closer to $50,000.)
“The amount we identified in that 90 days is a price not to exceed, it’s not just a lump sum,” Newsom said.
Newsom said this morning that he was pulling the item from tonight’s agenda and will resubmit it probably in two weeks. “They’re going to put it together where it’s more detailed for my commission to understand,” Newsom said of the engineering firm’s request. “The amount potentially is still going to be the same, it’s just I want it defined.”
The engineering portion of the contract was set to end by mid-March. It would not be completed until July under the new terms. Its original scope had included design, bidding assistance and construction administration.
In an April 17 letter to Newsom, Mott MacDonald’s David Skipper, the company’s vice president, wrote that “Mott MacDonald has been tasked to provide additional services for load rating the pier for special events such as Cheer at the Pier and 4th of July Fireworks.” In other words, engineering must certify that the structure can still bear the weight and activity of the summer’s big events.
Newsom says the additional work won;t take 90 days and won;t affect the reopening date of the pier. “The engineers may be doing some things after the construction company is long gone,” he said. The Flagler County Chamber of Commerce, for example, is applying for a permit to rent the pier in late July. The commission is expected to approve the permit tonight.
Newsom described the new engineering needs as “scope-creep”–issues that could not be anticipated when the contract was first awarded.