Lacombe council moves ahead with new police station

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That seemed to be council’s rationale when they decided to go with a more traditional design

  • Mar. 27, 2014 9:00 a.m.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. That seemed to be council’s rationale when they decided to go with a more traditional design, tender, build approach to the new Lacombe Police Service facility rather than the design/build approach originally suggested by administration at their regular meeting on March 24.

At the request of council, administration presented two project briefs to council at the meeting.

One following the proposed design/build approach and the other following the more traditional approach of design, tender, build.

Director of Infrastructure Services Matthew Goudy then took council through the pros and cons of both plans.

During the presentation, Goudy said that both plans have merits and either could achieve great results, or fail miserably.

“There are a lot of different facets to which delivery model is chosen and I want to be very explicit that both can be wildly successful,” said Goudy.

While Goudy began his presentation saying that it was not the goal of administration to influence council one way or the other, council seemed very convinced by the end of the presentation that the traditional method was the way to go. “I think if administration is trying to get us to be more favourable to the design, tender, build I think they’ve done that with this presentation,” said Councillor Bill McQuesten.

During the presentation, Goudy said that the design, tender, build approach is the best-known method for large, well-understood projects and that the biggest advantage of the design/build process was the focus on cost and timeline.

While there is more flexibility in the design, tender, build process the project price has a tendency to go up as changes are made.

However, Goudy also stated that the best product is more likely to be achieved through a design, tender, build process and that most of the projects Lacombe has have taken this approach and have come in on or near budget and deadline.

“We have a long history of success with the design, tender, build traditional method both in Alberta and specifically here in Lacombe,” said Goudy. “That is the method that we have done 98 per cent of our projects through and we have been on-budget and on time for the vast majority of them.”

For Councillor Peter Bouwsema, the superior product to be had from the traditional method far outweighed the con of possible cost increases. “I am concerned in the design/build process that pricing is the ultimate goal,” said Bouwsema. “I think our focus needs to be on a good end product, period.”

Councillor Reuben Konnik agreed. He added that while he was not at all in favour of cost overruns and didn’t think his fellow councillors to be either, he thought the risk was worth it to avoid possible upgrade and maintenance costs in the future and to make sure the building lasts for the intended lifespan. “At the end of the day we want the best possible product. You don’t get that in the design/build method,” said Konnik.

Council voted unanimously to adopt the traditional design, tender, build method for the construction of the new police station.

Furthermore, council elected to have one of their own members represent council on the police facility design committee. Konnik nominated Bouwsema to represent council because of his extensive knowledge of architecture. Bouwsema received unanimous support for the role.

This slight change in strategy will have some effect on the deadline for delivery of the new police facility. Both strategies had timelines which saw the facility in use by 2016, with the more traditional method seeing use in September instead of July.

At a previous meeting, council voted to move the future site of the new police station from the originally proposed site near Michener Park to the City’s current snow dump site east of Wolf Creek Dr. and north of 53 Ave. Construction for the new facility is slated to begin in 2015 with completion in 2016.