Dispute Between Architect, Construction Manager, Threatens $7M Project

One official close to the dispute says he has never "never seen anything like this" in his 48 years in the business.

📅   Thu August 25, 2016 - Midwest Edition


Don Olivieri, co-owner of the Frankfort-based architectural firm, refuted those claims, saying there are
Don Olivieri, co-owner of the Frankfort-based architectural firm, refuted those claims, saying there are "hiccups" in any construction project and they are trying to work through them.

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that a lack of cooperation between the construction manager and the architect is threatening the progress of a $7 million Mokena Park District project.

During Tuesday's board meeting, George Ferrell, owner of Henry Bros. Construction — construction manager for the project — said he has "never seen anything like this" in his 48 years in the business, and he urged the board to resolve the situation.

Following an update on the project, which will expand The Oaks Recreation Center and develop the historic Yunker Farm, Ferrell said it has been a "battle" working with Olivieri Brothers, the project architect.

When contacted Wednesday, Don Olivieri, co-owner of the Frankfort-based architectural firm, refuted those claims, saying there are "hiccups" in any construction project and they are trying to work through them.

Some major additional work has not been approved by Olivieri, delaying payments to subcontractors who are threatening to walk off the job because they have not been paid, Ferrell said.

"We need the architect's approval by contract. Every time we send something to them, they reject it," he told the board. "The more delays we have, the more it will cost."

This lack of cooperation "is not good for the project," Ferrell said.

"I am hoping that sooner or later you guys would come to us and give the architect some direction or give us some direction," he said.

"What do you want from us? Should we just tell everyone to get along?" asked Commissioner Patrick Markham.

"Well, it would make it a lot easier," Ferrell said, "But how do you force someone to get along?"

Earlier this year, Olivieri Brothers submitted a proposal to be the construction manager as well as the architect for this project, but the board chose Henry Bros. for nearly $100,000 more. Commissioners said they did not want the architect and construction manager to be the same firm, citing issues with the initial building of The Oaks when they used the one firm.

John Olivieri, co-owner of the architectural firm, publicly criticized the board for spending $100,000 more for a construction manager, noting that his firm frequently served in both functions for many park projects.

Board President Mike Bartos said during Tuesday's meeting he has tried to resolve the issues between the two, saying normally one sees the company owner twice during a project — at the groundbreaking and ribbon cutting. But he has already met with Ferrell five times, he said, adding, "He keeps trying to make peace."

"It's not fair to the park district or Henry Bros.," Bartos said. "It's something we will have to work out with our attorney."

"It's unwarranted and costly, to say the least," Ferrell said.

Don Olivieri said he was "surprised" that George Ferrell would publicly complain.

"To me, things are moving along. We have rejected some things and we have approved some things. That is pretty normal in a construction project," he said. "We are rejecting things that do not conform to the specifications. I don't think there is a big problem."

Olivieri said he attends weekly construction meetings with Henry Bros. staff, who have not made him aware of Ferrell's complaints.

According to the minutes of the Aug. 17 construction meeting, there was some discussion over who was responsible for approving change orders, with Olivieri saying he wanted it in writing from the park board attorney.

Source: The Chicago Tribune