Photo by Barbie Porter
Construction has resumed at the downtown commercial site in Frazee after a change order was approved by the Frazee Economic Development Authority.

Increase in price for new downtown building due to concerns with soil quality

By Barbie Porter


The price for the  downtown commercial building increased by almost $70,000.

The Frazee Economic Development Authority held an emergency meeting on Friday, Aug. 6 to discuss the expense.

In early August, the EDA was notified the excavation progress for the new building had come to a standstill. They were informed when the former furniture store was demolished, remnants of basement structures were left and other concerns rose over the soil quality and compaction.

EDA member Hank Ludtke said solving the problem is resulting in a 10 percent increase to the project cost.

The city took out a $1.52 million bond for the commercial building. Of that, $794,185 is for the building.

Clinton Nodland, who works for Goldmark and is the senior project manager for the building project, said there were discussions about the option of leaving the soil as is, and found no one was willing to take on that liability. He asked Bristlin Construction to put together estimates. Bristlin’s cheapest option was for $69,216 and included:

• Excavating and install new engineered fill at all strip footing locations around the perimeter of building.

• Excavating poor compacted soils down to indicated levels, haul out.

• Placing and  compacting engineered fill to meet the compaction requirements.

• Excavating poor compacted soils down to indicated levels at all interior pad locations. The soils would be hauled out and engineered fill would be placed and compacted as required.

• Removing and replace sidewalk as needed.

• If current soils are determined to be unsuitable at remaining interior floor slab locations, removals and replacements will be done on a time and material basis.

• Removing any existing footings, foundations or debris that is found will be done on a time and material basis. 

It was noted the proposal does not include testing and site observations. Those would be performed as needed and billed separately. It was also stated that no shoring was included in the proposal.

Nodland stated the cheaper option was the best option, as it removes any bad soil and builds it back up and then stabilizes the soil.

City engineer Kris Carlson agreed.

The cost would use up almost all of the contingency funds. However, it was noted additional funding could be found in the acquisition and demolition reimbursement part of the project, which has  about $135,000.

The EDA agreed to go ahead with the change order and if the work exceeded the proposal amount of $69,216 that Bristlin Construction would need to notify the EDA and discuss the project further.

The EDA questioned what was in the scope of the work detailed in the demolition contract with Boit Excavating.

Frazee City Administrator Jordin Roberts was asked via email after the meeting if the city was reviewing contracts with Boit Excavating, who performed the demolition work. Roberts stated the city is reviewing the contracts with its attorney and added, “It is unclear what will result from this, it is a work in progress.”