Project Methods

Four Methods for Constructing Capital Improvement Projects

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Capital Projects
353 Camino El Estero
Monterey, CA 93940
(831) 646-3997
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Robert Harary
Principal Engineer/Capital Programs Mgr

Laurie Williamson
Senior Engineer

Thomas Korman
Senior Engineer

Richard Llantero
Associate Civil Engineer

Lori Lynn Williamson
Construction Project Mgr

Rose Dickson
Administrative Assistant  

Robert Estrella
Public Works Inspector

Jesus Rios
Engineering Technician

Elvie Camacho
Senior Civil Engineer

Andreas Baer
Associate Mechanical Engineer

Javier Hernandez
Engineering Assistant

Max Rieser

Engineering Technician

The City of Monterey’s Capital Project Division utilizes several methods to construct municipal infrastructure projects contained in the Capital Improvement Program (CIP), Neighborhood Improvement Program (NIP), and federal projects assigned to the Presidio Municipal Services Agency (PMSA). In this article, we provide an overview of four methods used to complete construction projects with the goal of completing projects in the most cost-effective and efficient manner possible. The four methods are: Formal Bidding, Informal Bidding, On-Call Construction Contracting, and construction performed by in-house City Crews.

The City’s Purchasing Ordinance requires that all Public Works projects valued over $60,000 conform to the formal, competitive bidding process. The formal bid process requires a comprehensive package of detailed construction drawings, technical specifications, and an Invitation for Bids such that all qualified contractors can competitively bid on a “level playing field.” Once bids are received and reviewed, City Staff recommends that the City Council award the construction contract to the lowest responsive, responsible bidder. The informal bidding process is used for public works projects valued under $60,000. While construction drawings and specifications are also required, City Staff obtains at least 3 written bids. Again, the construction contract is awarded to the lowest responsive, responsible bidder; however, this informal process typically saves time.

Municipal On-Call contracts are awarded by the City Council annually to expedite repairs and upgrades of common, repetitive work according to competitively-bid unit pricing based on quantities that are unknown at the time of award of the on-call contract. Examples would be replacing broken concrete curbs and gutters or patching failing asphalt pavement anywhere in the City. Each Municipal On-Call contract may not exceed $1,000,000. On-call contracts are the most expeditious way to complete small, repetitive repairs because repairs follow pre-approved standards and typically do not require detailed design drawings. Finally for other capital projects, City Crews in the Building Maintenance, Streets & Utilities Maintenance, and/or Parks Maintenance Divisions can complete some construction projects at significant cost savings; however, their work efforts must be balanced with essential, ongoing infrastructure maintenance activities.

Pacific Del Monte Intersection
The Pacific and Del Monte Intersection Improvement Project is an example of a formal bidding process. The project consisted of reconstructing the entire intersection, upgrading storm drains, repairing sewer lines, and installing new traffic signals and lighting. An additive alternate item was included in the bid package for upgraded, decorative signal poles that match the vision in the Downtown Specific Plan, dramatically enhancing the Downtown character. In response to a high vehicle-pedestrian crash frequency, the Traffic Engineering Division diagnosed the intersection’s operational deficiencies, developed new intersection geometrics and traffic signal design, secured required permits, and captured grant funds to cover construction. The Engineering and Environmental Compliance Division added necessary storm drain improvements and sewer main repairs that were executed more cost-effectively when combined with the intersection reconstruction. Additional engineering and design services were performed by a local consulting firm, Whitson Engineers. The Capital Projects Division supported design development, administered the formal public bidding process, and secured Harris and Associates to provide construction management and inspection services. The construction contractor was Monterey Peninsula Engineering (MPE).

Construction, totaling $720,000, was funded through the Highway Safety Improvement Program, Proposition 1B funds, Gas Tax revenue, and the NIP.

Construction began on February 11, 2013. The entire project was originally planned to be constructed in four stages and scheduled to be completed in late June. Within the first week, however, it became evident that the June completion date would heavily impact the summer visitor season since the intersection is adjacent to the Marriott Hotel, Hotel Pacific, Merritt House, and Conference Center. To shorten the duration of construction and minimize summer traffic impacts, the first two stages were combined, and new traffic control plans were developed. Instead of finishing at the end of June, the new intersection and traffic signal was completed on May 22nd, before the Memorial Day weekend and five weeks ahead of schedule!

The overwhelming success of this project was due to exceptional teamwork between Traffic Engineering, Capital Projects, Engineering and Environmental Compliance Divisions, Harris and Associates, and MPE working closely throughout the project with the affected hotels, adjacent businesses, and the Old Monterey Business Association (OMBA). In fact, weekly coordination meetings were held at OMBA to fully inform stakeholders of upcoming construction activities and traffic detours. Hotel schedules and Conference Center events were accommodated without excessively noisy construction work. Continual communication with the contractor was critical for arranging work activities so that the contractor did not incur extra mobilizations, while working toward an aggressive completion goal. A Ribbon Cutting Ceremony was held on May 31, 2013.

The Construction Manager ensured that the project was completed on budget and met all quality and testing requirements. Thanks to all who went the extra mile to ensure minimal impacts to our visitors, residents, businesses, hotels, and conference goers. Everyone’s cooperation and patience during intermittent road closures and traffic detours was essential for successful completion of the project.
Method 2
The Energy Conservation Measures at Multiple Federal Facilities is typical of Presidio Municipal Services Agency (PMSA) projects that are comprised of a number of individual jobs sharing a singular theme – this one being "Energy Efficiency."  This project was physically located in four different buildings, with each one installing unique energy-conserving measures.  

Utilizing the informal bidding process, for projects less than $60,000, the City contracted with Coastal Plumbing to convert the Ord Military Community (OMC) Chapel pumps to high efficiency pumps, and with Airtec Services to retrofit the Presidio Building 228’s heating system.  The other two measures included upgrading of controls and thermostats in the OMC, and reconstructing the heating and ventilation system at the Presidio Cafeteria. The total budget for the combined project is $200,000.

All of these measures are receiving PG&E energy efficiency rebates, and the estimated rebate for the Cafeteria project alone is $20,000!  This project illustrates the City’s exemplary service to the Army by completing building upgrades that reflect a holistic, “green-building” approach providing a better environment for building occupants while at the same time saving energy.  This Project also provides an example of utilizing the “best fit” contracting approach to complete projects efficiently and cost-effectively.
Method 3
The Scholze Beautification & Sidewalk Improvement Project is a recent example of work completed through an on-call construction contract. Located in New Monterey at the corner of Lighthouse and Dickman, Scholze Park is home to one of Monterey’s four community centers. This project was conceived in order to beautify the Lighthouse Avenue streetscape area and was funded by the City NIP Program. The streetscape and sidewalk paver design sets the new design for future Lighthouse Avenue sidewalk improvements.
Method 4
The Don Dahvee to Del Monte Center Path Improvement Project is an example of utilizing in-house City Crews to complete construction. Located in the in the Alta Mesa neighborhood is the Don Dahvee pathway. The path is part of the 35 acre recreation area called the Don Dahvee Greenbelt. Locals and visitors often use this area to walk, hike, picnic, or bird watch. However, over the years, the pathway between Don Dahvee Lane and Del Monte Shopping Center significantly eroded through much use and the forces of nature. Specifically, low areas in the path became mud puddles in the winter, making the path unsafe to navigate.

The City’s NIP Committee dedicated funds to repair the pathway. The project included clearing of overgrown grasses and weeds, and installation of a 300-foot long and four inches thick stabilized Granite Crete walkway. The new walkway is contained within redwood borders giving it a solid structure that will last for years. In addition, the entrances are marked with boulders which provide a clear delineation of where the path begins and ends. The final touch will be seeding the area adjacent to the path with native wild flowers.

The project was constructed by the City’s Streets & Utility crews. The NIP budget for this project totaled $53,000; however, utilizing in-house crews, the final cost will be approximately $20,000 –a very significant cost savings. Special thanks to Streets & Utilities Manager Bret Johnson, Supervisor Chris Singh, and all the Streets & Utilities folks that made this project a success. Way to go! These construction projects highlight the four methods of construction contracting available to the City of Monterey’s Capital Projects Division. This division always strives to achieve successful, quality projects that will stand the test of time, while utilizing contracting tools that best balance available resources, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. Anyone interested in learning more about these contracting methods may contact Robert Harary, the City’s Principal Engineer/Capital Programs Manager.