Brighton Ave. Restroom Project Delayed, Over Budget

by on February 24, 2011 · 8 comments

in Culture, Ocean Beach

The anticipated Brighton Ave. public restroom project has suffered a major setback and now may not be completed until well into 2012.  That was the bad news delivered to the Ocean Beach Town Council’s monthly public meeting.

The design for the project was approved on June 7, 2010, with contributions and approval from the Ocean Beach Planning Board.  Final approvals from the City Council were not given until December when the project went out to bid.  The City Engineering and Capital Projects division expected to receive several bids on the project, but received only four by the January 18 due date.  Two bids were immediately rejected, one because it did not have all of the proper paperwork completed, and another because it was not presented to the City in a three-ring binder.

Of the two accepted bids, the lowest came in at $797,000, well over the $480,000 originally budgeted for the project.

Elif Cetin from the City Engineering and Capital Projects division explained that the bid process itself had hit a number of snags, in particular the timing of the bid itself.  Since the bid did not go out until December, when most contractors are busy tidying up their books and not looking for new projects, resulting in the unexpectedly low number of bids.

The City’s engineers immediately set out to find ways to reduce the cost.  It was determined that several of the design features specifically requested by the OB Planning Board via input from the community would be eliminated, including the solar panels, eliminating $30,000-$40,000 from the cost; using steel or concrete for the roof instead of other, more aesthetically pleasing material; and the use of galvanized steel screens and doors instead of the stainless steel originally called for.

Members of the town council were critical of the cuts, noting that some of the proposed lesser expensive materials were particularly vulnerable to corrosion and deterioration in Ocean Beach’s marine environment, which would raise the long term cost and eventually become an eyesore.  It was also noted that the solar panels, while more costly up front, were included to cut long term electricity costs.

Cetin informed those in attendance that the contract would go out to bid again for completion in 2012 once the design was updated to include the new materials.  It was suggested, however, that the city make no changes to the design and send the contract out to bid at a more opportune time for contractors with the assumption that the next time more companies would bid on it, and they would be able to find a more reasonable price with the original design.

Cetin also confirmed that, although she hadn’t seen them herself, at least one of the rejected bids were considerably lower than the two accepted bids.

Dusty Rhodes Dog Park Update

Thyme Curtis from Councilman Kevin Faulconer’s office updated the council on the requested fence to create a separate area for smaller dogs.  The money has been allocated for the project, and it will be presented to the City Council for final approval on March 7th.

SDFD Report

San Diego Lifeguards are looking into an incident where nails were left and deliberately scattered along the beachfront walkway in Ocean Beach.

The results of an independent efficiency study on the San Diego Fire Department have been released, and the news was not encouraging.

The study found that the San Diego Fire Department was grossly understaffed and unable to meet the national standard for response time.  It determined that in order to meet those standards the department would have to add 10 engines, four more ladder trucks, two additional battalion chiefs, and nine new fast response squads—two to three man units that can be deployed ahead of the larger response team, and shifted around to higher demand areas in order to cut response times and better coordinate fire rescue efforts.

The study was done prior to the department instituting brownouts as a cost saving measure, and the service shortfalls were blamed on a lack of funding for the department.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Shane Finneran February 24, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Informative and thorough report, Andy. Thanks.

So frustrating how we’re not just cutting vital services, but cutting investments that save money over the long run. Argh.


avatar JIM HANSEN February 24, 2011 at 6:08 pm

Gee, $1,000 per month per portable? I’m sure the ‘new stadium’ will be complete before the bathrooms! Where is the outrage! I do believe everyone in OB should pay respect to our city councilman. If this ever gets done, I will personally pay for the plaque on the building to read “Kevin Faulconer Memorial Toilets”. besides the illegal ‘Alcohol Ban’ on the beach (which is really working, just ask anyone in PB…), Mr. Faulconer will leave a legacy that should be remembered with a toilet.


avatar dave rice February 24, 2011 at 6:58 pm

So with all the upfront money invested in a thoughtful design, we’re now hacking away at the features we spent so much money to include in order to end up with a cheaper building that’ll be closer to the original…


avatar Shane Finneran February 24, 2011 at 7:05 pm

and we’ll continue paying to rent Port-A-Potties for months and months and months.

I bet the Port-A-Potties guy doesn’t mind.


avatar Rick Ward February 24, 2011 at 9:57 pm

They need to re-install the toilets that were covered by the pier.And while they’re at it maybe they could put the board parking lot back at the corner of Newport and Abbott. Now change all the they’s to we’s!


avatar Geoff Page February 25, 2011 at 12:41 pm

The following statement in the story above about the OB beach bathroom is either a completely duplicitous comment or it demonstrates total ignorance of private contracting:

“Since the bid did not go out until December, when most contractors are busy tidying up their books and not looking for new projects, resulting in the unexpectedly low number of bids.”

In this economy, every contractor out there is scratching for work, not a single one would let a thing like “tidying up their books” get in the way of bidding work; the statement is outrageus. I have already made my position clear, the City’s decision to used the Design-Build project delivery method caused this projec to be dead on arrival, not the timing of the bid. I find it very disturbing that a city project manager would even utter such a statement.


avatar Unwashed Walmart Thong March 2, 2011 at 10:46 pm

The lowest bid @ $797,000! Thieves are looking for easy money. Once again, I think there’s a company out there in the real world that could actually build the whole damn thing & deliver it to the site on a trailer truck, plumb it, have lunch & take a swim before asking for a completion check. Graft abounds. $797,000 for a set of toilets. $797,000 for a set of toilets.
I think the politicians recite it a hundred times after they say their prayers at night & slip into their jammies just so it sounds resonable when they have to say it to taxpayers. “Oh, yes, $797,00 for a set of toilets is quite reasonable when you consider. . . ” Quick, someone send a carrier pigeon down to plan check & let them know it’s a newer millenium. Taxpayers are looking for high quality toilets, not golden toilet seats w/ platinum fixtures.


avatar Geoff Page March 3, 2011 at 7:33 am

Dear Mr. Thong,

Your anger is misplaced. The contractors who priced the proposals are not thieves and are not to bame. I used to be an estimator. When we came across a bid package that was so bad, so full of uncertainties, so rife with risk being heaped on the bidder, we priced it high accordingly. The prices for this work are a reflection of how the City put out its bid package. Right now, contractors are hungry for work and the bids are the lowest any agency has seen in years. Where there were once three, four, or five bidders for each project, now there are 15. The City screwed this up by trying to make a simple construction project into some far more complicated, so complicated in fact that they only got four proposals in this economy. The City deserves the blame, not contractors.


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