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Woodbury scraps traditional water tower contracting

The Hudson Road water tower in Woodbury. File photo

A string of timing and workmanship issues during the 2015 rehabilitation of the Hudson Road water tower prompted the City of Woodbury to take a new approach to contracting for upcoming work on the 25-year-old Commonwealth tower.

Rather than bidding and hiring a contractor for a specific project, the city will contract Madison-based consulting firm Short Elliott Hendrickson to provide ongoing services including inspections and contracting companies to perform maintenance like repainting.

The City Council unanimously approved a resolution to accept the firm's $1,337,500 bid for the project, which will involve applying a new layer of interior and exterior coating to prevent corrosion.

Water towers in Woodbury typically receive new coating every 20 years.

The city previously contracted Stacy, Minnesota-based Kollmer Consultants to repaint the Hudson Road water tower as part of a million-dollar rehabilitation project.

But the city deemed the project an "unsatisfactory performance," citing missed deadlines, damage to private property and workmanship issues.

"We did ultimately deliver a successful project, we're satisfied with the final project, but it was a lot of work to get there," Public Works Director Klayton Eckles said during the Aug. 9 City Council meeting. "We wanted to look for other ways to get this important work done."

The contract for the previous project included a two-year warranty.

The city's new contract with Short Elliott Hendrickson spans 10 years with performance guidelines and options for default termination if the city finds the work unsatisfactory.

"By getting a reputable contractor, knowing that they're not going to be fighting every inch of the way to save every penny in their bid, probably means we'll get a better product, and hopefully more value out of it," Eckles said. "There's definitely value there. Nobody can put a number on that, but we have a better chance at getting a longer-life product."