Montreal

Private company hired to oversee $12.8M in renos at Montreal City Hall

The City of Montreal has hired a prominent Quebec construction company to manage the renovation of its historic city hall, a responsibility that typically falls to the city itself.

Contract was awarded to Quebec construction company Pomerleau

Renovations at Montreal's city hall are expected to start in the summer and take three years to complete. (Romain Schué/Radio-Canada)

The City of Montreal has hired a prominent Quebec construction company to manage the renovation of its historic city hall, a responsibility that typically falls to the city itself. 

The $12.8-million contract was awarded to Pomerleau Wednesday morning during the city's weekly executive committee meeting. 

Pomerleau will be responsible for making sure costs are respected, as well as the schedule, construction methods and the quality of the work being done, according to a summary of the committee's decision, released after the meeting.

The Lucien-Saulnier building, Montreal's former courthouse, is west of city hall. (Radio-Canada)

The city commission that examines public contracts came out in favour of the contract, but called it "unprecedented" and said the city would have to pay close attention to how the work plays out. 

"It will be interesting to verify whether this approach will make the city more agile in awarding contracts," the commission wrote in its evaluation of Pomerleau's bid.

Staff will be moving out of the 140-year-old building next summer and into the Lucien-Saulnier building, an old courthouse, nearby. 

The renovations are expected to take three years to complete and involve an extensive overhaul of the building's interior. 

Submissions exceed internal cost estimates

The commission was called to look into the company's submission because its price exceeded internal estimates by 22.6 per cent. 

The only other valid submission in the file was by a company called Groupe Decarel, which proposed a budget of $15.8 million.

The total price tag for the city hall renovations has gone up from $87 million in September 2017 to a more recent estimate of $115 million. In May, though, the administration said the final cost could reach $140 million. 

More than $20 million has already been spent on it, including a $7.3-million contract awarded to the architecture firm Beaupré Michaud et Associés to draw blueprints. 

The city will pay for 61 per cent of the costs and the agglomeration will pay the remaining 39 per cent. 

The costs were distributed according to the physical space they each occupy inside city hall.

With files from Radio-Canada

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