HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Local contractors have been maligned by Representative Matt LoPresti, who recently accused them of colluding on bids for the Department of Education's heat abatement project. The bids that were submitted were in response to specifications outlined by the DOE. The bid specifications call for work that goes far beyond installing window A/C units, which is just a small part of the heat abatement program. Bids were priced competitively. Many of the bidders are smaller contractors who are not working on large residential, retail or commercial projects.
The DOE's heat abatement program is extensive. DOE originally estimated it would cost $1.7 billion to cool classrooms across the state. Labor costs are fixed. Other factors are contributing to the high bids. Labor rates are fixed for anywhere from three to five years. Even if the market is booming, prevailing wage rates stay the same. No one is reporting on the bid requirements. and in order to properly assess the bids, we need to first understand what the DOE is asking for.