Low-bid contractor fails in appeal to Northbrook board
Updated: September 3, 2012 6:08AM
Representatives of Trine Construction Company, lowest bidder for a $1.1 million water main improvement contract in Northbrook, lost the job last week though disputing the village’s reasons for its decision.
Trine, a West Chicago company that had been awarded a 2010 contract for similar work, was the lowest of seven bidders seeking a contract for the replacement of water mains on Dundee Road, Shannon Road, Woodbine Lane and Western Avenue.
But the village board decided July 24 that the job should go to the second lowest bidder, Lenny Hoffman Excavating Inc. of Wilmette, after learning that Trine’s bid did not meet all the village’s required specifications.
Kelly Hamill, Northbrook’s director of public works, also noted that after reviewing Trine’s previous work, the company had not fulfilled its contract in a manner that met village standards.
“Trine inconvenienced a number of village residents by causing unnecessary disservice disruptions, damaging customer service lines and failing to promptly and correctly complete driveway paving and restoration work,” Hamill said.
“Further, Trine’s substandard conduct of the work resulted in fluctuations of water pressure that damaged another village water main.”
Trine also failed to diligently correct its performance deficiencies and resisted addressing items of work under warranty, Hamill said. A successful project requires diligent staff oversight and conscientious contractors, he added.
For these reasons — and because Trine’s proposal reportedly did not include sufficient certification and insurance to back this large of a project — staff recommended rejecting Trine’s bid.
Lenny Hoffman Excavating Inc., the bidder who offered to do the work for about $66,000 more, had not only provided sufficient supporting documentation, but also successfully completed a $1.2 million sewer and water main improvement project in 2011 for the village, Hamill said.
However, Michael M. Rendina, vice president of Trine, refuted the allegations against his company point by point.
“At no time did Trine Construction Corp. damage any appropriately marked facility serving any resident,” Rendina said.
“It should further be noted that on Aug. 20, the only time during the course of the project when any resident was not notified of a necessary outage, no blame was placed on Trine … the area affected was outside of that Trine had scheduled for work.”
Rendina added that the damage to the other village water mains was a result of the village not properly flushing the system when turning it back on after it was shut down.
“Air needs to exit the line (through) open hydrants prior to opening the main, which was not the case,” he said.
And as far as “failing to promptly and correctly complete driveway paving and restoration work,” not only had the company completed by Oct. 15 the abandonment of the old system, but the new system was functioning, and the general site cleanup and restoration work was completed.
Trine’s attorney, Bruno J. Tassone of Chicago, called the village’s allegations “egregious” and asked the board to reconsider Trine’s bid.
Trustee Kathryn Ciesla noted that in the three years she has been on the board, this is only the second time that staff has asked for the lowest bidder to be skipped.
Trustee James Karagianis was impressed by the company’s defense of its position.
“It shows commitment. I hope we can create a situation where we can work together in the future.”