Barns Project Hits Speed Bump

work-photo2As the Barns of Rose Hill moves into the construction phase, a VDOT requirement is threatening to throw the brakes on the project. Stan Kerns spoke before the Berryville Town Council Tuesday night to give an update on the project and characterized the situations as, “Never a dull moment.”

The low bidder that was forwarded to VDOT as the recommended vendor failed to meet requirements regarding a set aside for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE).  VDOT procurement guidelines for the Barns of Rose Hill project require that four percent of the funds for the project go to DBE . H&W Construction of Winchester believed that they had met the requirement, but when subjected to closer scrutiny, VDOT found their submitted bid failed to meet the requirement.

The issue has not formally impacted the project, but all parties have been made aware through informal discussions that it has the potential to throw a wrench in the works. Mr Kerns stated, “There is a risk that the package submitted recommending H&W will not be approved.”

The issue could force the project back to bid. Information regarding DBE for all of the bidders was submitted to VDOT when the problem was identified. None of the others bidders met the required set asides either. The other possibility is that H&W could request a formal hearing on the matter. If H&W can demonstrate they made a good-faith effort to comply, the matter could be resolved.

Town Manger, Keith Dalton pointed out, “The civil rights representative from VDOT made a very thorough presentation at the pre-bid meeting,” adding that, “VDOT has been very forthcoming and very reasonable with us about the situation .” ¬† Attempting to explain the shortcoming, Dalton theorized, “Some of the contractors have just never had to deal with DBE issues before.”

Kerns responded, “It’s very clear that the bidders did not understand how important the DBE goal is with this kind of project.”

In closing, Kerns told the Council he would have solid information from VDOT within the next 3-4 days and summarized by saying, “The worst case scenario is having to go back out to bid, because of the loss of time and the additional costs.”