May 16, 2022

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Perth County hires NA Engineering to manage more-than $1-million courthouse-elevator project

Perth County council has hired NA Engineering Associates for project supervision, construction oversight and contract administration during the construction and installation of a three-storey elevator at the historic Perth County courthouse.

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Without issuing a wider request for proposals, Perth County council awarded the contract for managing the roughly $1-million Perth County courthouse elevator project to Stratford-based NA Engineering Associates Inc.

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County public works director John McClelland recommended Thursday that council retain the Stratford engineering firm, which has served as the primary consultant for the project so far, for project supervision, construction oversight and contract administration.

“NA Engineering has been the primary consultant on the elevator project to date. They have extensive knowledge and familiarity with the courthouse and have designed the elevator project plans,” McClelland said.

Though a motion passed by county council in May 2020 awarded NA Engineering the contract for pre-construction and design work, which has cost roughly $75,000 of the $200,000 budgeted for consultants, McClelland said that contract does not cover the consulting services required for the remainder of the project.

“I just have an issue with … single-source (service procurement),” Coun. Bob Wilhelm said. “For $125,000, I think we should go with a (request for proposals). I realize that NA (Engineering) has done a lot of work on it, and hopefully they would come in with the lowest bid, but I think for $125,000 it should be tendered out.”

While McClelland said council could choose to have staff put out a request for proposals to gauge whether there are other engineering firms that could fulfil the contract at a lower cost, he said it would take roughly a month and a half to bring those bids back and even more time to bring a new hire up to speed, which could significantly delay the project.

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McClelland also noted that NA Engineering, as the engineer of record on the elevator project, would remain involved at least in some capacity regardless of whether they were awarded this contract.

“I hear what Bob is saying, but I tend to agree we need to go with NA Engineering because it’s going to delay it,” Deputy Warden Rhonda Ehgoetz said. “By the time you get (new consultants) up to speed, it’s going to take a lot longer than what we want it to take.”

Perth County awarded the roughly $1-million contract for the construction and installation of a three-storey fully accessible elevator at the historic Perth County courthouse in downtown Stratford to Elgin Contracting and Restoration Ltd. last month.

The new, fully automatic elevator will be compliant with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) and will be more centrally located within the county courthouse when compared with the building’s current lift system.

The elevator will go from the boardroom on the courthouse’s lower level, through the Integrated Technology and Geographic Information System office on the second floor and up to the hallway area on the third floor.

The project, which is set to begin this spring, is expected to take roughly eight months to complete, but the sourcing of materials and the scheduling of proceedings in Stratford Superior Court could impact that timeline.

Originally opened on May 9, 1887, the Perth County courthouse is an example of High Victorian architecture and is historically renowned in Ontario since many of the building’s original features remain intact.

The county has strived to maintain the historic courthouse over the years, having replaced the spire in 2009 and the slate roof in 2014.

The Perth County courthouse is home to both county administration staff, as well as the Stratford Superior Court.

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