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A Guidebook for Post-award Contract Administration for Highway Projects Delivered Using Alternative Contracting Methods

Description:

There has been much research and writing completed in the past decade regarding project delivery using alternative contracting methods (ACM) such as design-build (DB), Construction Manager-at-Risk (CMR), Construction Manager as General Contractor (CM/GC), Alternative Technical Concepts (ATC) and other nontraditional delivery methods. However, the bulk of the work has been accomplished with a keen focus on the preaward procurement and project delivery method decision process. The literature is fundamentally devoid on research focused on best practices for administering ACM contracts after they have been awarded. The FHWA’s Every Day Counts Program (EDC) has increased the need for guidance on administering ACM contracts by increasing the visibility of DB, CMGC, and ATCs specifically in a series of nationwide summits in 2010 and 2012. Additionally, MAP 21 legislation contains a provision whereby a state’s share of a federal-aid funded project that is delivered using an ACM is cut in half. The combined effect of the two programs has been a large increase in the use of ACMs by DOTs which have not used them before. Therefore the timeliness of this research is high to fulfill an urgent need for guidance on how to execute ACM contracts after award.

However, NCHRP Syntheses 376, 402, 429, 438, and 455 (all were focused on various aspects of ACM) found that contract administration issues comprised the majority of the case law in ACMs. For example, Synthesis 402 found that failure to coordinate the consultant design contract with the CMGC preconstruction services contract created a situation where the engineer and the contractor developed an adversarial relationship. Synthesis 376 on DB QA found that most DOT DB projects did not require the design-builder to submit a design QC plan and that DOTs routinely assumed unnecessary design liability by the way they conducted design reviews. Synthesis 429, which looked at DB geotechnical issues found that differing site conditions claims were prevalent because the DOT had not ensured the design-builder’s geotechnical investigations were well coordinated with final construction documents. The list of post-award issues goes on and on. Suffice it to say, that the need for the research has grown in the same proportion as the use of ACMs has grown throughout the nation. Therefore research is urgently needed to benchmark the state-of-the-practice in ACM contract administration practices, critically analyze DOT experiences including the costs and benefits associated with various contract administration approaches and produce a guidebook which contains the information necessary to fill the current void in the body of knowledge on ACM contracting.

The proposed research should address the following questions: (1) What are the best practices for post-award contract administration for ACM projects? (2) What should be contained in ACM preconstruction services contract? (3) How should the design contract be modified to support ACM project delivery? (4) What are the advantages and disadvantages of current post-award ACM contract administration approaches? (5) What training do in-house design and construction assets need to effectively administer ACM design and construction project delivery?

Objective:

Therefore the objective of this research is to benchmark the state-of-the-practice in ACM contract administration practices, critically analyze DOT experiences including the costs and benefits associated with various contract administration approaches and produce a guidebook which contains the information necessary to fill the current void in the body of knowledge on ACM contracting.

Tasks:

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Task 1 – Define the state-of-the-practice in ACM contract administration through a comprehensive literature, the collection and analysis of relevant procurement documents, ACM design and construction contracts, review of enabling legislation and barriers to ACM contract administration implementation;

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Task 2 – Select a representative set of case study projects from public transportation agencies with ACM contracting experience that can be studied in depth to identify both best practices and lessons learned;

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Task 3 - Prepare a research work plan that describes the details of the research methodology and methods for identifying ACM contract administration best practices and developing conclusions;* *

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Task 4 - Execute the research work plan and prepare an interim research report that articulates the data collection and analysis as well as emerging conclusions, best practices, lessons learned and a proposed outline for the guidebook;

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Task 5 - Prepare the draft guidebook for ACM contract administration. Incorporate review comments as required and validate the guidebook’s efficacy on actual ACM projects.

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Task 6 - Publish the final guidebook and a final research report that details the full results of the research.

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Task 7 – Develop training and workshop packages to support adoption or exploration of ACM contract administration by interested DOTs.

Implementation:

The anticipated budget and schedule are based on assumptions for required resources to support on-site collection of ACM contract administration case study project data, the assembly of the contents of the guidebook and validation of the guidebook in the field directly with the case study DOT. .

Relevance:

The intent of this project is to furnish a uniform set of guidelines for ACM contract administration at time when state DOT ACM programs are rapidly increasing. This guidance on ACM contract administration is needed immediately to complete the full set of project delivery tools that DOTs need to be able to deliver their infrastructure improvement programs.

The payoff of this research is likely to be significant through better contract administration and the provision of tool to benefit from the experiences of other DOTs. The enhanced uniformity will pay dividends in being able to benchmark ACM project delivery and compare project performance metrics between states
Sponsoring Committee:AKC20, Project Delivery Methods
Research Period:24 - 36 months
Research Priority:High
RNS Developer:Douglas D. Gransberg, PE, Professor, Iowa State University dgran@iastate.edu
Date Posted:12/09/2015
Date Modified:09/25/2016
Index Terms:Benefit cost analysis, Best practices, Contract administration, Design build, Project delivery, Road construction, State departments of transportation, Construction manager at risk,
Cosponsoring Committees: 
Subjects    
Highways
Administration and Management
Construction

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