MOMSAH Mtg Summary– November 10, 2008

Compiled by Carolyn Carr

Attending:
Anne Holzinger, Carolyn Carr, Elizabeth Barnard, Carol Bartoo, Greg Whitley Mott, Hobie Perry, Jeremy McAdams, Joe Landsberger, Lynn Cibuzar, Mike Cregan, Ralph Hilgendorf, Richard Fuller, Valerie Stoehr

Not Attending
Dean Zimmerman, Elaine Martin, Kiara Buchanan, Rob Axtmann

We opened with silence.

1. Co-clerks and Interim Decision Group:
Richard announced that he is stepping down as co-clerk of MOMSAH (as planned). EB will replace him as co-clerk. Carolyn will continue as co-clerk.

Richard will continue on the Interim Decision Group, along with Mike, Jeremy, Ralph and Carolyn. Others from MOMSAH are invited to join this group. At a future mtg, we will determine when this is no longer an “Interim” Decision Group, but the “official” Decision Group.

2. Review of Notes from the Oct 8th Mtg.
Carolyn and Mike provided clarification of the notes from Oct 8th, provided by email and in paper copies. Roof decisions have not been made at this time. Assistance with making this decision wisely is one of the services included in the Request for Proposals (RFP). Ralph stated that he is not attached to the idea of replacing the flat roof with a gable roof, particularly given information about the longer-lived membranes that exist today to repair the roof.

3. Circle Time – Richard asked for people to introduce themselves and describe their feelings about the status of things with MOMSAH – and these ranged widely from “good” to “deeply concerned”.

4. Discussion of the Interim Decision Group’s Recommendation
The Interim Decision Group (Richard, Carolyn, Mike, Jeremy and Ralph) met Nov 9th to review the 3 proposals submitted in response to the RFP. It was intended that Joe Landsberger be invited, but due to an email glitch he didn’t receive the invitation, and therefore did not attend. Apologies were made about this mixup.

The attached chart summarizes the evaluation of the 3 proposals. The Interim Decision Group found Whole Builders proposal to be a very good fit for TCFM’s needs and asked for MOMSAH to test this conclusion.

Issues raised:
Joe had a concern that the proposals did not provide sufficiently identify detailed tasks and provide detailed budgets, and that a particular firm he is was familiar with and had mentioned was not solicited to make a proposal.

Discussion followed:
In the course of exploring Joe’s concerns, the qualities of the proposals, and the RFP process, it was clarified that the Joint Committee of Mtghouse and Trustees (which preceded MOMSAH) considered the question of the kind of business from which to solicit proposals for this work. That Committee specifically chose to pursue proposals from Design/Build or Design/Bid/Build firms, rather than from General Contractors.

This decision about the type of firm to solicit was made before MOMSAH was formed. Several MOMSAH members had not served on the Joint Committee, and for these people, this piece of the history of earlier decision-making was new and very important information.

Differences between Design/Build, Design/Bid/Build and General Contractor firms:
Design/Build and Design/Bid/Build firms
– These firms provide expertise to oversee an entire project from start to finish, including work to help define the scope of the project, but the form of their oversight differs. For both kinds of “Design/” firms, once the scope of the work is defined, in close collaboration with the client, specific task lists are identified and agreed upon, and then specific budgets for the tasks are provided in the form of a bid. Then work is agreed upon and conducted. In the Design/Build arrangement, firms do this design work and oversee all the implementation, which is done either by their own staff or the subcontractors they hire. In the Design/Bid/Build arrangement, firms do design work, then assist the client to obtain bids for the implementation, and the client ends up with two contracts – one for the Design work, and a separate one for the Build work, and the two firms work in coordination with each other for the client, us.

If TCFM were to work with a Design/Build firm, TCFM would still be provided bids for specific tasks, including those conducted by the firm’s own staff, or by other subcontractors, and would have the ability to obtain multiple bids for tasks. But, ultimately, we would have a single contract with the Design/Build company, and they would hire and oversee subcontractors, not us.

General Contractors
– These firms provide expertise to oversee a project as a whole, but would not provide as much guidance in defining the scope of the work. In order to work most effectively with a general contractor, TCFM would need a very clear identification and prioritization of the work to be done, which can be a significant task unto itself.

Why did the Joint Committee decide to solicit proposals from Design/Build or Design/Bid/Build firms, rather than General Contractors?
Several members of the Jt Committee who are now members of MOMSAH shared their sense of the reasons for the Jt Committee’s decision:
– In the wake of the flood, a complicated set of related and unrelated problems with the Mtghouse were revealed, bit by bit. The Committee had already committed tremendous time just to identify the problems, and could see that solving these problems would require even more time and expertise – and quite simply, they felt overwhelmed.
-Furthermore, while Mtg does have attenders and members with extensive expertise who could help oversee such complex work, the Committee wanted to avoid the possibility of “burning out” these volunteers, which seemed quite possible, given the scale of the situation.
– TCFM will have to pay for the additional expertise provided in the “Design” component of the approach these two kinds of firms take – but the Joint Committee felt this would be a wise investment, as it would relieve volunteers from being responsible for such complicated work, and ensure consistent oversight.

About the apparent lack of budgetary detail in the proposals – they are not bids:
The Design/Build and Design/Bid/Build firms are providing a proposal for services at this stage, just as TCFM requested. A proposal proposes to work with the client to clarify the scope and solutions to pursue – and then will provide bids for the tasks to be done. A bid provides detailed costs for specific tasks already identified. Mike emphasized that in the course of working with a Design/Build or Design/Bid/Build firm, TCFM will have the opportunity to obtain multiple bids for the specific tasks of the construction work to be carried out, Mike added that it is possible to save money in the course of doing the construction with firms like these, because they can be more flexible than General Contractors in responding to new findings that happen in the course of the work.

It was an honest misunderstanding that the firm Joe mentioned had not been solicited. This happened because Jeremy had assumed the firm would not provide Design/Build or Design/Bid/Build services, but only General Contractor services. Joe accepted Jeremy’s apology for this oversight, and the expressed his appreciation for the work done by others to address the Mtghouse’s needs.

5. Selecting a firm
At this point, the group agreed to hear details from the Interim Decision Group regarding its recommendation that MOMSAH accept the proposal from Whole Builders.

As described in the summary chart, Whole Builders provided the most complete proposal, with more detail about tasks we have already identified, and a list of potential subcontractors. In addition, they commit to holding bimonthly meetings with us about the project, and to provide ongoing cost reporting as the implementation takes place. They have excellent experience with green building principles as well. In addition, Mike and Jeremy are both very pleased with their communication with the firm that’s taken place to date. Furthermore, Carolyn and Richard both have had good experiences with projects done by Whole Builders (Carolyn’s was a very small and recent project, and Richard’s was much larger and several years ago). Carol Bartoo noted that her son-in-law, Ralph Jacobson, was a member of this cooperative business many years ago, and she has high regard for them as well.

Carolyn urged MOMSAH to make this decision this evening, rather than to delay it by opening up the RFP process to other applicants, given the time and effort that’s already gone into obtaining proposals and the urgency of our work, particularly given the satisfaction the Interim Decision Group has with Whole Builders’ proposal.

After clarification from Joe that it would be agreeable for MOMSAH to proceed with a decision, MOMSAH united in approving the Whole Builders Proposal.

6. About Insurance:
Mike explained that TCFM will receive a check for $11,000 – half the insurance payment the TCFM expects. He added that TCFM does not appear to have a firm deadline for completing the work with the insurance company (we’ll receive more details about this at a later date – we were running short of time in the meeting at this point).

7. Adult Ed on Nov 30th
MOMSAH will be presenting at Nov 30th Adult Ed time. Further definition of the presentation will be done by email.

Adjourned at 9:30 or so.

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