“We certainly could’ve used other brick,” he said. “But [Feldhaus] has already been used, so the benefit is, you don’t have to go through the approval process again.”
Such decisions can be cost-effective, but it remains unclear whether that was the case at Fort Bragg.
“If we arbitrarily gave out price information, it could stir up a hornet’s nest,” Mr. Long said in declining to disclose competing bids.
In November, he said, his team met at Fort Bragg with officials from the Army, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Defense Department, and the group decided to go with Feldhaus. Afterward, according to multiple sources, Balfour’s architect, Cathy Roche, of the Orlando, Fla., firm Schenkel Shultz, told a Summitville sales representative that Feldhaus was “preselected.”
The problem, Mr. Johnson said, is that Summitville had not yet quoted its price.
Ms. Roche referred questions to her firm, which referred questions to Balfour Beatty.
The Washington Times reviewed numerous documents and written communications and interviewed multiple parties involved in the selection process. The documents show that in early December, after Feldhaus was selected as the brick veneer supplier, Balfour Beatty project manager Dave Goltz issued a purchase order and told a Summitville sales representative that Summitville’s price was $3 per square foot higher than Feldhaus’ for 100,000 square feet of brick.
However, a quotation from Summitville’s distributor, Harwood Brick, a Florida company, shows that Summitville priced its brick at $4.58 per square foot. That would put the German bid at $1.58 per square foot, Mr. Johnson said.
“With costs of shipping across the Atlantic Ocean and transportation to the site, that simply is not possible,” he said.
Harwood never quoted Summitville’s price to Balfour Beatty either, he added. More troubling, Mr. Johnson said, is that Summitville suspects that the domestic distributor of Feldhaus brick had something to do with freezing out Summitville.
“We believe that Fort Bragg has been misled by those representing the German [company],” he wrote to Ohio’s congressional delegation in November.
Feldhaus is distributed exclusively in the United States by United Wall Systems of Greenville, S.C. Brian Drummond, president of United Wall, did not return calls.
Although Mr. Long maintained that Balfour Beatty relied on brick wall construction firms to solicit brick prices, Mr. Johnson contended that those firms also never conveyed his actual price to Balfour Beatty.
“We included a brick estimate in our overall price,” said Roger Webb, chief operating officer for Florida brick installer Tilt-Con, noting that his company estimated the cost of brick at $5 to $8 per square foot.