Warwick company wins housing contract

Thu, 06/27/2019 - 6:30pm
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Pariseault Builders, Inc. of Warwick, R.I. was selected to build the five single-family homes in the B.I. Housing Board’s Cherry Hill Lane affordable housing subdivision on a parcel off Cooneymus Road.

The board and its project manager, Herman Mast, compared the bids submitted by Pariseault and Connecticut Valley Homes of East Lyme in open session at the Board’s June 25 meeting. Board Chair Cindy Pappas made the motion to award the contract for construction of the homes to Pariseault pending successful negotiation of a contract that will include “upgrades” to the bid specified by the Board. Member Stacey Henshaw seconded the motion. Michael Kiley and Kay McManus joined in the unanimous vote in favor. (Members Millie McGinnes, John Spier and Rosemary Tobin were absent.)

On June 11, the Board had awarded A. Transue Corp. of Block Island a contract to prepare the site for the homes, including pouring concrete for five full foundations, installing shared septic and water supply systems, building a new access road and all landscaping. Transue’s successful bid was a collaboration with two other island-based contractors, Mike Ernst and Bill Rose.

Connecticut Valley and Pariseault had proposed to build the homes without bidding on the site work. Both companies had also submitted proposals in an earlier round of bidding on the project. This time, both proposed to use modular construction; Pariseault’s earlier bid was for “stick-built” homes.

According to a memo prepared for the Board’s discussion, the two construction bids did not line up exactly with each other or with architect Frank Karpowitz’s design for the five homes – three with three bedrooms and two with two bedrooms. One included porches and access decks in its base price; the other did not. One proposed electric heat; the other proposed oil-fired boilers for heat. One proposal included the vaulted ceilings the Board wanted in the two-bedroom homes and added mudrooms to the three-bedroom homes; the other proposal had neither vaulted ceilings nor mudrooms. Materials for sheathing, siding, flooring and kitchen countertops were different.

The memo recommended “modifications” to each bid to allow a fair comparison between them. Even with upgrades for each of the proposals, Mast said it was still difficult to “compare apples to apples.”

In the open discussion of both companies’ bids and qualifications, members noted that while Pariseault is a long-established family-owned business in Rhode Island, Cherry Hill Lane would be its first project on Block Island. It would also be the company’s first project using modular construction.

According to its website, Pariseault Builders is a fourth-generation family-owned general contracting firm that grew from a small tile and masonry company established in 1946 in Warwick. Its staff of more than 50 includes many senior employees with decades of experience in the construction industry and with the company.

Mast said each of the references Pariseault cited in the bid was contacted. His summary: In essence, each said, “don’t worry” about the company being new to modular construction, based on their track record; and “These are the people you want to hire.”

Board members also noted that Pariseault’s president brought a team to a meeting on the bid well-prepared with answers for all the Board’s questions. All were impressed that the company’s bid showed they had thought through how to get the job done efficiently.

“We really felt excitied about the possibilities of working with Parissault,” Pappas said.

Mast’s assessment was: “They intend to get in and get out.” Mast said he believes the buyers of the new homes could move in months ahead of the scheduled completion date.

For the project to stay on track or ahead of schedule, Mast said, “The critical factor is the foundations.” The goal will be for A. Transue Corp. and its partners to get the foundations finished by Sept. 30, 2019.

Pappas said that if the contract between the Housing Board and Pariseault Builders is finalized before the Board’s next meeting, scheduled for July 11 at 5 p.m. at the Town Hall, the board will begin planning how to present the project to the public, recruiting potential homebuyers who may qualify for the homes based on their income.

The Board also acted Tuesday to resolve bonding and insurance issues with the draft site work contract with A. Transue Corp., and approved a proposal for additional surveying tasks by Cherenzia & Associates, the firm that has done the previous engineering work for the project.