Airport redevelopment project could face delays

By Lauren Ratcliffe
Published April 18, 2013

Three weeks after an airport committee met to discuss awarding a construction administration contract to the terminal redevelopment project’s architect, the Charleston County Aviation Authority still has not awarded that contract.

Instead, the authority approved conditional approval for a portion of the work to begin. Austin-Hitt, the redevelopment’s project manager can now move forward in securing contractors for four early components of the project, but no money can be spent until the board approves the construction administration contract.

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On March 27, the Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Project committee asked Michael Baker Corp. and Fentress Architects to iron out differences between Fentress’ proposal for the contract and the amount Baker believed the airport should pay.

Hernan Pena, chairman of the TRIP committee, said an agreement had been reached, but that the committee had not yet received it in writing. Pena said the committee will meet at 9 a.m., April 24 to discuss the agreement and could recommend approval.

“It will be presented to us today and will be sent out to committee members immediately,” he said.

In their decision to again defer the contract’s award, the board did give approval for Austin-Hitt to secure subcontracts for components of the redevelopment. The board did not approve the inclusion of one subcontractor to perform site work on the exterior of the project.

The board expressed concerns that Gulfstream Construction was included. In the past, there has been litigation between the authority and the company. Arnold Goodstein, attorney for the authority, said that litigation had been resolved and there were no outstanding issues.

The board recommended that Austin-Hitt reevaluate the inclusion of that subcontractor and present reasoning for their choices to the TRIP committee next week.

If decisions are not made about the site work subcontractor and construction administration contract, the project could run into time delays and increased costs, said project manager Tom Skinner who works for Austin-Hitt.

“The site work would be the first job required to be engaged,” he said. “If you’re asking me if there would be an impact to time and dollars, I would say there would be.”

Skinner added that he was confident that the subcontractor in question is qualified, but will issue a report to the committee.

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