SAN MARINO — The San Marino City Council was expected to award a contract to refurbish City Hall on Wednesday, but after one of the project's bidders raised concerns that another bidder did not list the name of a second-tier subcontractor who would remove asbestos, the selection of a contractor was put on hold.

The contract for up to $683,000 would include a general interior facelift and construction of a one-stop customer service center on the building's first floor.

The dispute arose when BBS Construction, the second lowest bidder, claimed in a letter that the lowest bidder, Caltec Corp., did not list the name of a second-tier subcontractor that would be doing asbestos removal on the project.

BBS Construction claimed a company must be identified if it does at least at least 0.5% of the work, citing the California Contractors State License Board.

"They don't even have anyone [listed]. In other words, now they can shop for a greater, better price and that should [lead to] elimination immediately," said Tom Bilaver, vice president/secretary of BBS Construction, after the meeting.

Caltech countered that subcontractor Incotechnic Inc., which doesn't have the correct type of asbestos certificate for the project, would hire a second-tier subcontractor that has the proper certification.

"California Business and Profession Code does not prohibit a … subcontractor to subcontract any portion of their work," Caltech stated in its rebuttal letter to the city.

City Attorney Steven Dorsey said the issue will not be difficult to resolve. However, because Caltech's rebuttal letter arrived just prior to the city council meeting, he needed more time to investigate the situation.

Dorsey said that by law, the city council must award the contract to the lowest bidder that has the proper licenses, insurance policies and references.

Caltech came in with a $496,000 bid, while BBS Construction's bid was $559,000, said Aldo Cervantes, San Marino's senior planner.

The city council will hold a special meeting next week to consider again which company should be awarded the contract.

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