And still the low bids flow…

The demolition of Philadelphia prison has become the latest to follow the US’ low bid trend.

I am becoming almost as tired writing about this as I am sure you are reading about it. But another day has brought another suicidally low winning bid for a contract to demolish the Riverfront Prison in Camden, New Jersey.

However, this one is even more worthy of reporting, partly for the sheer magnitude of the difference between local officials’ estimates and the winning bid price, but also because the winning bid came not from a fly-by-night landscaping contractor with a sideline in demolition but from one of the world’s biggest demolition companies; Brandenburg Industrial Service Co. reports that local client Delaware River Port Authority had set aside some $6 million for the demolition works. Brandenburg was the lowest of the 23 bids (yes 23) received at just $1.25 million. Even the highest bid, from local contractor W. Hargrove Demolition of Camden came inside the original estimate by $1.1 million.

This is just the latest example of the US demolition industry’s “race to the bottom” which has seen similarly low bid-to-estimate prices on contracts including the Executive Inn in Kentucky, the Texas Stadium in Dallas and yesterday’s wastewater treatment plant in Florida.

Sadly, I am not privvy to the inner machinations of the National Demolition Association. But surely the time has come for the NDA to take a stand and to advise its members of the perils of this seemingly suicidal course of action.