Why are municipal construction project bids in the Windsor area coming in high?


Ontario Construction Report staff writer

    Major projects such as the construction of the Gordie Howe International Bridge are not the main reason that some public projects in the Windsor area are coming in well above budget, the Windsor Construction Association (WCA) asserts.

    Amhertsburg Council approved earlier in June the lowest bid to reconstruct Concession 5 at $2.3 million to Coco Construction, CTV reported. However, that bid was more than 20 per cent higher than budgeted, and the highest bid reached $3 million.

    Amherstburg CAO John Miceli says escalating construction costs have been on the town’s radar for some time. He suggests that major projects like the Gordie Howe bridge as the reason why labour and material costs are skyrocketing.

    “Its supply and demand,” Miceli was quoted as saying. “If they’re paying a premium for materials, definitely it’s going to cost us more in materials. And if the work force isn’t there, they’re going to be looking at charging a premium to allocate that workforce.”

    However, WCA executive director Jim Lyons disagrees with Miceli’s interpretation.

    “The bridge project hasn’t started in any significant way yet, so they really can’t suggest that that’s the reason this project went over budget,” says Lyons.

    Lyons told CTV News the Amherstburg job had a competitive bid with multiple companies, and he suggests the problem was with the town’s bid process.

    “If there are seven bidders on one project and everyone has come in that much more over budget, then clearly, the budget on the job was incorrect,” says Lyons.

    Lyons said the 2019 construction season had a late start because of the wet spring and many of the roughly 80 contractors he represents are hungry for work — typically keeping bids competitive.

    “I know guys are bidding jobs very close to the chest,” he was quoted as saying.




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