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Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 1,438
I'm betting on the developer eating the $865,000 on this...

The Press-Enterprise

Representatives from the city of Hemet met with several utility companies earlier this month about the challenges that the Salvation Army is facing regarding the required undergrounding of utility lines at its new complex.

Hemet's Uniform Building Code of 1997 requires that all new structures require underground lines.

At the November City Council meeting, the Salvation Army expressed frustration that the cost of installing utility lines underground was more than 10 times what it expected and asked the city for a waiver to allow it to keep the lines above ground.
But after bringing all the sides together, the blame has been passed to the architectural firm for what the city and utility companies say was an unwillingness to go through the proper channels.

More than two years ago, a representative from STK called Edison and asked for a rough estimate on installing underground utility lines, and was told it would be around $15,000 per pole, but that in order to get an exact price, it would have to ask for engineers to pull the plans and do a complete inspection and report. The cost of that would have been $5,000 and the process would have taken four to six weeks to finish.

The firm never requested the official estimate and proceeded with its work.

"They didn't want to do that because they didn't want to wait the six weeks," said Ray Hicks, Public Affairs Manager for Edison. "They were trying to get the job. We were never requested to go to the site."

The project is roughly 70 percent completed and is expected to open in March. The City Council in November turned down the waiver request, saying that the firm should have followed proper procedure, but requested that all sides meet to discuss what went wrong during this process.

Hicks provided an update at Tuesday's City Council meeting, saying that the fact that the process had not been followed led to the issues.

There are five poles at the site that must be converted. Edison is charging $277,133; Verizon is charging $233,406 and Time Warner is charging $4,626. And the landscaping company is charging nearly $350,000 for its work, bringing the total cost to roughly $865,000.

"It sounds to me like the developer didn't do their diligence," Vice Mayor Robert Youssef said after Hicks spoke. "They didn't do what they were supposed to do."

Representatives from STK did not return phone calls seeking comment.

link to original story below.

HEMET: City, utilities meet over Salvation Army project

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,370
Likes: 1
Cat Servant
Actually, the story is a very good reminder to all of us who pull permits and do design work.

I recall one job, where the original request was to provide/ upgrade service when an RV was replaced by a mobile home.

Forget the electric work. I was adamant that the PoCo come and look the site over, and -surprise!- there were several complications that I had suspected, and a few I had missed. "No problem" became "lots of $$$$."

I was also a bit anal in touching base with the various city bureaucracies .... and uncovered a little game the customer was playing. The owner, simply put, was trying to play one agency against another, and feigning ignorance when he had been clearly advised of the requirements. The owners assurances that the city approved of his plan turned out to be the exact opposite of the truth; the city had told him not only 'no,' but 'hell no.' He was trying to finesse the system.

Despite my best efforts, I still lost money on that job- but that's another story. I think of that loss as 'tuition.'

Yes, the developer dropped the ball here. Yet, simple math suggests that the work could have been anticipated to cost less than $100K - a far cry from the $865K being asked for. I have some problems with that. I mean, there's only ONE set of poles, and the guy is being charged THREE times for the job? It appears to me that the utilities are playing a game here.

Joined: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,273
Landscaper's submission is patently absurd.

The other bids assume no common trench, for sure...

They also assume Poco labor rates/ represent bids the Poco has in hand from other contractors who understand that the project is over a barrel.


BTW, a horizontal driller could go from A to B for peanuts. The Service could be relocated to the pole based distribution and horizontal boring takes the run to the panel boards/ big box...


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