Rifle selects Moltz as contractor for water plant
RIFLE — Using a new approach after the first round of bids for a new water purification facility came in too high, the city of Rifle has awarded the job to Moltz Construction Inc. of Salida.
Rifle decided to try the Construction Management/General Contractor (CM/GC), or sole-source, approach, which is new to Rifle but has been around for a long time, according to Jim Miller, the project engineer. The method allows project costs and available budget to be reconciled. Traditionally, a project is designed, a bid awarded and construction begins.
“It’s not a traditional method, and many people consider it an alternative method,” Miller said. “Typically, the project is awarded to the bid with the best value. But we tried [that method], and the bids came in so high, we had to scale back.”
In late May, the city received bids that were $8 million to $11 million over what it budgeted for the project.
The city received a $25 million low-interest loan from the Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority to help pay for the plant and two years ago, Rifle voters approved a 3/4-cent sales tax increase to help repay the loan.
The new water treatment plant is needed because the existing Graham Mesa plant is aging, undersized to serve projected population growth and unable to meet possible tougher federal water quality standards in the future, according to city officials.
Under the sole-source method, the general contractor acts as the construction manager and is involved from the beginning — helping to decide what and where costs can be cut. At the same time, a cost model is developed and when a package is put together of what is to be built, the contractor will put a guaranteed cost on it, which helps to keep the project on budget.
“There are no surprises,” Miller said. “Using this method, the costs are more predictable. They’ve used this in other projects like the Glenwood Springs bridge and a water plant in Loveland. This method has been around for decades, and it requires cities to be forward-thinking. In our case, it was the only way we could see how to do this.”
In fact, the city had more response from contractors by using the method.
Seven construction companies showed interest in the second round of bidding. Five companies were considered qualified, but Moltz was chosen after comparing availability, resources, local knowledge, experience, fees and approach.
“We picked Moltz because they have a strong, positive reputation and they’ve done local water treatment plants,” Miller said.
The new water treatment will be located east of Rifle and north of U.S. Highway 6 and 24 at the top of the hill near the city gravel pit.
City staff will meet with Moltz this week to finalize the award, and they expect to start modifying the scope and cost of the project by early October. The project is expected to be built in two “packages,” with the first beginning in late November.
“Our goal is to live within the fund that we have,” Miller said.
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