A Feasibility Study that is not so feasible…

by Andy Burns on June 21, 2010

Here’s an interesting view into our world of design and construction – and the painfully devastating effect this “perfect (economic) storm” is having on all who dare to try to stay afloat.

Financial reports.

On about June 2, 2010, The City of Fitchburg Mass sent out a request to designers for proposals to conduct a “Library Feasibility Study/Schematic Design” (download PDF). The scope of work as advertised: “Evaluate existing public library, propose renovations/additions/options for expansion.”

No fee estimate was given – it was marked: “to be negotiated”.

For perspective: A Google search reveals that Fitchburg has a population of about 41,000 (about 1/14th the size of Boston).

So, to do a feasibility study for a relatively small suburban library, we were curious to see just how many firms would respond to the RFP and request further information in the current climate.

Here is the list. Seventy Eight (that’s right, 78) responses. If you look carefully you will see some of the biggest names in design, engineering, and architecture around (both local and as far away as California). Impressive indeed.

Included are: Weidlinger, Sasaki, HKT, ABACUS, Ann Beha (2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize winner!), BSC, Maguire, Holtzman Moss (from NYC!), Winter Street, William Rawn, Wiss Janney Elstner (forensic engineers doing a library feasibility study?) – just to name a few heavy hitters looking for morsels.

Makes you think, no?

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