To keep work under budget, Friendswood City Council at its Feb. 1 meeting approved hiring construction managers-at-risk for two capital improvement projects.

The city is in the early stages of reconstructing Fire Station No. 2 and expanding the Public Safety Building. In September, architectural engineering began, Engineering Director Jildardo Arias said.

The preliminary floor plan for the new fire station includes three apparatus bays, a gate that leads to parking and training equipment behind the station, dorms, a kitchen, a shower, a laundry room and more. The floor plan is a result of a needs assessment from the fire department, city engineers and other stakeholders, Arias said.

The cost estimate based on the floor plan is $3.7 million. With $400,000 in “soft costs” such as architecture and engineering work, the total is $4.1 million, which is just over the budget of $4 million, Arias said.

The project cost does not include the $650,000 it would cost to replace the burn building behind the station used for training, he said.

The goal is to work with the construction manager-at-risk for the project to bring the cost under budget and come up with a guaranteed maximum price, Arias said.

“Eventually we’re gonna have a floor plan that’s gonna fit for both projects’ ... respective budgets,” he said.

City Manager Morad Kabiri said the city used a construction manager-at-risk for the construction of Fire Station No. 1 to great effect.

“It ended up providing a far better product for us and keeping us within budget as we hoped, so we’re proposing to do the same with these two projects.”

While the fire station is close to budget, the expansion of the Public Safety Building, which is under design, is not where the project needs to be cost-wise, Arias said. He did not provide details on its budget compared to its estimated cost.

A priority for the project is to balance renovation of the existing building with the addition of floor space. A construction manager-at-risk will again help the city keep project costs down, Arias said.

Kabiri said the expansion project will not affect emergency services, though law enforcement may have to adjust to differences during construction.

“We will not disrupt services at all during this process,” he said.