Archive for Thursday, March 29, 2007

Letter: Mail call

March 29, 2007

After reading the March 15 story with the headline "Construction bidding process becomes campaign issue," we felt that there were some misunderstandings regarding our role with De Soto USD 232.

JE Dunn has been the district's construction manager since 1990 for a very good reason. Foremost is our ability to put the concerns of the district first. We've proven this, successfully, for 17 years. We provide value in the construction services we deliver and by virtue of the type of contract we hold with the district. As agency construction manager, not general contractor, we work on behalf of USD 232 for a fixed fee to provide professional services.

We do not perform any of the construction work. This fee has not changed since we began doing business with the district.

Working hand-in-hand with the District and architects, our responsibility, in addition to setting a proper construction budget, is to solicit and procure bids from contractors for the scopes of work to be performed. The bids are opened publicly by the district as required by state law. The District awards construction contracts to the lowest responsible bidders. Two key words are "lowest" and "responsible." One does not automatically assume the other.

The contract award is not the decision of JE Dunn, although we will certainly provide guidance and counsel if required by the district. We suspect that Kevin Straub may simply not have a full and correct understanding of the differences between general contractor and agency construction manager.

Regarding cost overages, yes, they can occur. However, as Denis Johnson correctly pointed out, contingencies are figured into contract amounts. Unanticipated, unforeseen events can impact construction costs. By definition, that is exactly what contingencies address. A business manager without in-depth knowledge of construction and construction practices may not have the background to identify cost potential impacts. That's what a construction manager does. That's what JE Dunn does.

Through the many years of our association, we have never missed a school opening for USD 232, delivering a quality project to the complete satisfaction of our client. Then, as now, we continue to stress the importance of giving De Soto USD 232 the very best value in construction management services possible.

We value our relationship with De Soto USD 232 and are confident that we have served the district well over the past 17 years. Our organization has played an integral role in the successful completion of numerous new schools, renovations and additions as well as upgrades and expansions to existing educational facilities within the district. We look forward to our continued association.

Terry Dunn

President and CEO,

JE Dunn Construction Group

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