The National Academies

NCHRP 19-10 [Completed]

AASHTO Partnering Handbook, Second Edition

  Project Data
Funds: $400,000
Research Agency: Iowa State University
Principal Investigator: Douglas Gransberg
Effective Date: 4/9/2015
Completion Date: 6/30/2017
Comments: Draft final report received August 7, 2017.

Partnering is a tool to improve stakeholder relationships by providing a framework for communication and problem solving with the goal of win/win outcomes. The partnering process aims to foster a team environment where challenges are addressed as a group and disputes are resolved early in order to create positive outcomes on project performance. Partnering on highway transportation projects is popular throughout the country and has been in use both formally and informally by state departments of transportation (DOTs) for over 20 years. Many DOT construction contracts contain general provisions regarding the partnering process. The Ohio and Texas DOTs conducted research studies on the effectiveness of partnering in the mid-1990s, whose findings indicated that there were quantifiable benefits for employing partnering on traditional design-bid-build contracts. The 2005 publication of the AASHTO Partnering Handbook includes guidance on developing metrics and appears to be the only national guidance focused on highway construction partnering. Since that time, project delivery has undergone significant changes due to the adoption of alternative delivery methods (ADM) such as construction manager/general contractor (CMGC), design-build (DB), public-private partnerships (P3), and other methods that were not prevalent during the time periods covered by the Ohio and Texas studies or the 2005 AASHTO Partnering Handbook. Consequently, research is needed to assess the costs and benefits of a formal partnering process relevant to current project delivery practices and to update the 2005 AASHTO Partnering Handbook.
The objectives of this research are to (a) quantify the costs and benefits of a formal partnering process and (b) prepare a recommended AASHTO Partnering Handbook, Second Edition.
Phase I

. Review relevant practice, performance data, research findings, and other information related to partnering on highway transportation projects. This information shall be assembled from technical literature and from experiences of planners, engineers, designers, safety professionals, construction managers, project/program managers, and others. Information on actual field performance and empirical knowledge—especially as it relates to the results of partnering on traditional and alternative delivery methods—is of particular interest. (2). Analyze the literature and practices collected in Task 1 to develop (a) a summary of the state of the practice for highway transportation project partnering (formal and informal), (b) a recommended data collection and analysis plan to be conducted in Phase II to quantify the costs and benefits of a formal partnering process, and (c) a detailed outline for the proposed update of the 2005 AASHTO Partnering Handbook (to be developed in Phase II). (3). Prepare an interim report on the information developed in Tasks 1 and 2. The interim report shall also contain (a) a summary of agency partnering practices and (b) a detailed Phase II work plan.
Phase II
(4). Carry out the approved Phase II work plan to (a) quantify the costs and benefits of a formal partnering process and (b) prepare a recommendedAASHTO Partnering Handbook, Second Edition. Quantification of the costs and benefits of a formal partnering process on project outcomes (by delivery method) should address, at a minimum:
  • Safety
  • Cost
  • Schedule
  • Quality
  • Claims resolution
See, for example, the relevant sections on measurement in the 2005 AASHTO Partnering Handbook.(5). Submit a final report that documents the entire research effort and includes (a) a summary of agency partnering practices, (b) a standalone recommendedAASHTO Partnering Handbook, Second Edition, (c) a two-page standalone executive summary suitable for executive or policy decision makers, and (d) an updated PowerPoint presentation describing the research and results suitable (upon revision) for posting on the TRB website.
STATUS: Draft final report received August 7,2017.

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