by Max Brantley
A University of Arkansas news release says UA will ask a dorm contractor for documents on the project. Mighty nice of them to get documents on millions in public expenditures in a place where the public can view them. These are records that had been sought by a contracting group unhappy that major projects are no longer awarded by competitive bids. The group believes change orders and supporting documents could provide some evidence on the economy of the deals. But an FOI suit for the records failed because they were held by the contractor, Nabholz, not the university.
Release on the jump. (How come UA didn't voluntarily gather these records long ago?)
UA NEWS RELEASE
LITTLE ROCK -- After several days of talks with attorneys for the Contractors for Public Protection Association (CFPPA) and Nabholz Construction Corp., University of Arkansas attorneys have requested financial documents from Nabholz related to the construction of the Northwest Quadrant Housing project on the UA Fayetteville campus.
While UA attorneys have maintained that Nabholz is the custodian of the documents requested by CFPPA under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) on October 29, the university has requested the records in a good-faith attempt to disclose the information.
University attorneys will obtain the documents and review them for any applicable exemptions under the FOIA before giving them over to CFPPA.
Approximately a year ago, university officials made all of the records in their possession for several construction projects, including the Northwest Quad project, available to CFPPA under the FOIA.
University officials maintain support for the alternative delivery method for construction of public buildings exceeding $5 million allowed under legislation passed by the Arkansas General Assembly in 1997 and 2001.
The use of alternative delivery allows for a team approach to pre-construction design and budgeting, which ultimately leads to a better quality product and better value for investment than the traditional approach of design/bid/build. Competition is fostered in the alternative delivery method through a request for qualifications and a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) from interested contractors. The university also requires its contractors to use a competitive bid process when awarding subcontracts.