Brittney Burns – Staff Writer

Macon County’s maintenance department has spent the last several months completing demolition work on the Robert C. Carpenter Building to get the project ready to go as soon as bids were approved by the county. After a few setbacks in the bidding process, final bids for the project were approved at this week’s regular meeting of the Macon County Board of Commissioners. Commissioners awarded the four lowest bids for general construction, plumbing, electrical renovation, and the gymnasium floor replacement. Bidding on the windows and doors for the renovations were awarded last month.

Macon County was able to keep the majority of the renovation project local, as three companies from Macon County were awarded bids including Arrowood Construction, Inc. in the amount of $283,671 for general construction; Jimbo’s Plumbing, Inc.  for $42,500 for plumbing; and Bumgarner Electric Company, Inc. for $35,500 for electrical renovation.

The bid for the replacement of the gymnasium floor was awarded to Southeastern Building Services of Avalon, Inc. based out of Martin, Ga., for $83,816.40.

According to Macon County Manager Derek Roland, construction by the subcontractors is expected to begin April 17. Due to delays in the bidding process, the project completion date has been pushed to August 14. However, according to Roland, all parties involved in the project are working toward the original completion date of July 1.

Macon County stands to save taxpayers a considerable amount of money by utilizing a 2011 law that exempts the owner of a property from being required to use a general contractor.

The 2011 law that allows the county to complete the renovations without a general contractor states that in building construction projects where the property owner intends to solely occupy the building being altered or built on his own property, he can act as his own general contractor and perform the duty of superintending the construction project himself. The exemption extends to firms and corporations and states that an individual who is legally authorized to act on behalf of the firm or corporation.

To be eligible for the exemption the county had to submit a verified affidavit to the local building inspector. The affidavit states that the county will personally superintend and manage all aspects of the construction project and that the county will not delegate the duty to anyone else. The county also has to be present for all building inspections. The affidavit was also submitted to the North Carolina Licensing Board for General Contractors for verification, review, and approval.

While serving as the general contractor will save the county money on the project, meeting the deadline may be a little more difficult. The county will be responsible for ensuring all the subcontractors are on time. While the subcontractors contract with the county includes a $500 a day penalty for work not completed by August 14, the work of one subcontractor depends on the work of another, and with the county acting as the general contractor, the tight deadline could be tricky.