GCs invited to prequalify for $138 million Ottawa Public Library/National Archives Joint Facility

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Ottawa Construction News staff writer

The City of Ottawa has started the process to find a general contractor for the estimated $138 million (or more) Ottawa Public Library (OPL) – Library and Archives  (LAC) Joint Facility.

Documentation released on MERX in June say the process will start with a Request for Qualifications, closing on July 9. Pre-qualified contractors will be selected on July 24.

The city says there may be an “early works request for tender” in August, with early works starting in the Fall and concluding in Spring 2021.

Earlier construction cost estimates from 2016 set the construction cost of the OPL-LAC structure at about $125 million, with an additional $13.8 million for an associated parking garage. There are other budgeted funds for programming and other costs. Of course, it is unclear how much prequalified contractors will bid for the fixed-price contract when it is time to bid in the spring of 2021.

There will be “design and schedule validation workshops with pre-qualified general contractors through February 2021, with the main facility request for tender that spring, and construction starting in the summer,” the bidding documents say. The project is expected to be substantially complete by the summer of 2024.

“The purpose of the RFQ is to shortlist general contractors with qualifications and experience to manage and oversee the construction of the joint facility project,” Alain Gonthier, project implementation director for the joint facility, wrote in a memo to the Mayor and Ottawa City Council.

“The prequalification and early works described in this memo have always been an integral part of the project schedule and are particularly important now.

“Having access to pre-qualified general contractors will allow the project team to engage early on the potential impacts of COVID-19, as well as project budget and schedule,” he wrote.

The city is using a points system for evaluating potential contractors. Forty points (40%) will be assigned to the contractor’s capability and experience, with 10 points each for three relevant project examples and one for the company profile.

There will be 30 points allocated for the experience and qualification of key team members including the project manager and site superintendent. Another 30 points will relate to project approach and methodology, including reporting and schedule management techniques, construction planning, staging and execution, and facility commissioning, owner fit-up and handover, and LEED management.

Contractors need to achieve 70 points to qualify to the next stage of the procurement process, which will also take into account bonding, insurance and financial capability and a required WSIB Clearance Certificate.

The project, when completed, will include:

  • A main entrance and a five-story Atrium Town Square shared with access to both OPL and LAC spaces, and meeting spaces, featuring both a ground floor and fifth floor café a gift shop;
  • public forum and meeting spaces of large multi-purpose spaces, including a black box theatre for programming and community events for both OPL and LAC;
  • an exhibition gallery of museum quality spaces featuring exhibitions of rare and unique LAC collections, travelling exhibitions, and OPL and Ottawa community exhibitions;
  • a dedicated indigenous space and round room with the ability to perform traditional smudging ceremonies;
  • a genealogy centre with one-of-a-kind research space offering OPL and LAC services and collections; and
  • an underground parking garage of approximately 200 parking spaces on two levels with additional bicycle storage and integrated stair and elevator access to facility.

The RFQ documentation says project challenges and constraints include:

  • Adjacent City of Ottawa civil infrastructure project being undertaken during the same timeframe as the OPL-LAC Joint Facility project that will re-align Albert-Slater streets adjacent to the site;
  • adjacency to existing city-wide crucial infrastructure including the lRT tunnel, CSST (Combined Sewer Storage Tunnel), Interceptor Outfall Sewer (IOS) and high pressure watermain; and
  • potential complex design considerations including: connection to District Energy System; timber roof system; enhanced, unique building envelope; complex structural elements; roof PV system; and strict humidity and environmental controls.

Bidding documents are available through MERX. Drawings and project information are available at the project website, www.inspire555.ca.

The project architects are Diamond Schmitt and KWC.

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