Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Choosing the Right Construction Project Delivery Method

Traditionally, public agencies have awarded public works construction projects using what is often referred to as "Design-Bid-Build," in which the award is based on the low responsive bid submitted by a responsible bidder.  

Alternative Project Delivery Methods:  Increasingly, alternative project delivery methods that have been used in the private sector are being used in the public sector.  Most prominent among the alternative methods are Design-Build and Construction Manager at Risk (also known as GC/CM, CM/GC, CMAR, etc.).  Regulations differ from state to state on how these methods work or if they are even authorized.  In Washington State, Design Build and GC/CM (General Contractor/Construction Manager) are authorized and their permitted use described in Chapter 39.10 RCW.

Analysis of 4 Project Delivery Methods:  I recently ran across an excellent ten-page, easy-to-read article from the Fall 2004 issue of Popular Government, based in North Carolina, entitled "Public Construction Contracting: Choosing the Right Project-Delivery Method" by Valerie Rose Riecke.  The article analyzes the following four project delivery methods:
  • Design-Bid-Build using separate (or multiple) prime bidding
  • Design-Bid-Build using a single prime bidding
  • Construction Manager at Risk
  • Design-Build
Construction industry goals:  The article presents the findings of a questionnaire distributed to construction industry experts addressing the advantages and disadvantages of each of these four project delivery methods based on the following four construction contracting industry goals:
  • Controlling project costs
  • Meeting or accelerating the schedule
  • Ensuring a quality product
  • Decreasing the administrative burden.
Comment:  The article, while dated, does a good job of explaining the perceived advantages and disadvantages of each of the four project delivery methods.  Of the four methods identified, the Design-Bid-Build using separate (or multiple) prime bidding is not used frequently, and rated much lower in most of the questionnaire results. There are only a handful of states that even permit the use of this method.

Previous Blog Post:  On April 25, 2012, I published a blog post summarizing a variety of project delivery methods and the advantages and disadvantages of each.  Click here to read the posting.
Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog 
© 2013 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC

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