Update from Annual Meeting – Part 3

As we said in the last post, the third reason for the delay in our project is that subcontractor bids were higher than we expected – in fact, not only was the Building Committee surprised, but so were the architect and contractor. So you might wonder why this happened?

The main reason is something that you can see yourselves as you look around the area of Chapel Hill and Durham: there is construction going on everywhere. This is not just our contractor who is busy – all construction companies, contractors, and subcontractors have as much work as they can handle. “There is a crane on every corner in downtown Durham,” someone said to us, and that is pretty much true. This is very good news for the local economy, but not so good for our timing.

Subcontractors being busy means that they don’t need to look hard for their next job. They don’t need to bid down to the bare minimum in order to get work – there is plenty and to spare for everyone. Our project is attractive for at least two reason: one, it is on the larger size; and two, much of the work is going to start in a couple of months, not immediately. Nonetheless, the fact that we are in a construction boom of sorts is the main reason we are in the situation we are in.

Rather than spending this post going into a lot of detail about what we did, I will cover a few principles we followed. First and most importantly, we mainly considered things in which we could postpone an expense rather than create a situation that would be a permanent change. Secondly, we prioritized making the chapel as lovely and special a space as we could, focusing on other areas of the building and renovations to cut costs. And finally, we asked our architect and contractor to look for things that were possibly misinterpretations in the bids, things that a simple explanation might result in some cost savings.

Next post: some details.