Facilities Plans Construction Cost Breakdown

We received a comment from a citizen asking for us to a better explanation of the costs involved in March 3rd’s referendum.

There are many numbers that go into the final cost being asked for in the vote. A space needs study was complete and an initial plan was designed for the buildings. Ethos Design Group then developed a basic list of construction materials that would be required for the buildings. This list was then provided to a company that installs mechanical equipment and a construction company. These companies then provided estimated construction costs for the projects. Ethos took the estimates and then compared them to other recent construction projects to ensure they are in line with current prices for construction in the Des Moines area. These estimated were completed and submitted to the City on September 3, 2019.

During the cost estimation process, the City made a conscious decision to estimate on the high side of things to avoid actual project bids coming in over the estimates. This is to avoid making cuts to a plan reliant on a space needs analysis as well as avoiding the need to come back to the voters to ask for additional funds.

City Hall Estimates

The City Hall project’s requested amount on Tuesday’s vote is $1,850,000.

Estimated physical construction costs are around $880,000. An additional $397,000 is added to the project for contingencies. This amount helps to cover “what ifs”. These what ifs can happen starting in the design phase and carry on through to the final day of construction. Ethos did a good job of doing initial investigations of the buildings but there are still some unknowns. Anybody who has done a renovation in their house knows that when you open up walls or ceilings, things may not look like you expected. This is especially true when dealing with an older building.

The City chose to include inflation estimates of 5% per year on the building projects due to historical construction cost increases. That number comes out to $59,562.

If we add those things together, we get a high estimate of $1,313,332 for estimated construction costs. The items above do not include several other costs involved with construction though. These include asbestos remediation, inspection costs, signage, a site survey, and design fees for the various professional companies who will be involved in the construction of the project. Furniture, appliances, and audio-visual equipment throughout the building is another expense not included in the construction costs. When you add those costs to construction and include costs associated with the issuing the bond, you come to the $1,850,000 asked for in the vote.

Police Department Estimates

The police department project’s requested amount is $2,900,000.

Estimated physical construction costs are around $1,440,000. An additional $471,000 is added to the project for contingencies. Our estimated inflation at 5% per year adds an additional $181,615.

Totaling those, we get a high estimate of $2,097,000 for estimated construction costs. Like in the other project, the items above do not include total costs associated with construction. Additional costs include soil borings, inspection costs, signage, a site survey, and design fees. Outfitting the building with furniture, appliances, and audio-visual equipment also is considered in the final number. Adding those to the costs associated with the issuing the bond, you come to the $2,900,000 asked for in the vote.